Click to listen to episode (3:40)
Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)
Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-27-20.
TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO
From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 30, 2020. This is a revised version of an episode from April 2013.
SOUND - ~3 sec
This week, we feature a feathered mystery sound, chosen just for the upcoming April Fools’ Day. Have a listen for about 10 seconds to sounds resembling those that often follow a funny Fool’s Day trick, and see if you know the group of shorebirds to which this species belongs. And here’s a hint: you might hear sounds like these on April Fools’ Day if you’re gull-ible.
SOUND - ~7 sec
If you guessed gulls, you’re right. You heard the sounds of a Laughing Gull, in a recording by Lang Elliott, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs.
The Laughing Gull is one of 16 gull species whose occurrence has been documented in Virginia, out of 20 gull species known in North America. Twelve of those species—with interesting names like Bonaparte’s, Franklin’s, Iceland, and Ivory gulls—are relatively rare visitors to the Commonwealth. Four species—the Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Laughing Gull, and Ring-billed Gull—are fairly common around Virginia’s coastal waters, with Herring, Laughing, and Ring-billed gulls found at times farther inland around freshwaters or sources of food. Besides their distinctive sounds, which can vary considerably, gulls generally are known for gathering in groups for nesting and feeding, for their hovering ability, and for scavenging food around fishing boats, plowed fields, parking lots, and landfills.
About the Laughing Gull, 19th-century naturalist John James Audubon [who also called this bird the Black-headed Gull] reported an amusing feeding anecdote, excerpted here as follows: “On the 10th of May, 1832, it was my good fortune to be snugly on board the ... revenue cutter Marion. The Gulls that laughed whilst our anchors were swiftly descending...were all busily engaged on wing, hovering here and there around the Brown Pelicans, intent on watching their plunges into the water…. As…the Pelican went down headlong, so gracefully followed the…Gull, which, on the brown bird's emerging, alighted nimbly on its very head, and with a gentle stoop instantly snatched from the mouth of its purveyor the glittering fry…!”
Thanks to Lang Elliott for permission to use this week’s sounds, and we let a Laughing Gull have the last call.
SOUNDS - ~3 sec
Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624. Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show. In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.
AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This Virginia Water Radio episode replaces Episode 155, 4-1-13.
The Laughing Gull sounds were from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs-Eastern Region CD set, by Lang Elliott with Donald and Lillian Stokes (Time Warner Audio Books, copyright 1997), used with permission of Lang Elliott. Lang Elliot’s work is available online at the “Music of Nature” Web site, http://www.musicofnature.org/.
Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode. More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.
Laughing Gull in Texas. Photo by Lee Karney, made
available for public use at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s
National Digital Library, http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/; specific URL for the photo is https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/17726/rec/3, as of 3-29-20.
Laughing Gulls at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge in
Mississippi. Photo by Donna A. Dewhurst, made available for public use
at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library, http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/; specific URL for the photo is https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/10580/rec/1, as of 3-29-20.
Great Black-backed Gulls at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. Photo by Donna A. Dewhurst, made available for public use at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library, http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/; specific URL for the photo is https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/3068/rec/1, as of 3-29-20.
EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT GULLS IN VIRGINIA
Following are 16 species of gulls whose occurrence in Virginia has been documented, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Title=VaFWIS+Species+Information+By+Name&vUT=Visitor. Information on 16 species of gulls found in Virginia is at this link, as of 3/27/20. The scientific name for each species is in parenthesis.
Species Commonly Found in Virginia
Great Black-backed (Larus marinus)
Herring (Larus argentatus)
Laughing (Leucophaeus atricilla)
Ring-billed (Larus delawarensis)
Species Uncommonly Found in Virginia
Black-headed (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Bonaparte’s (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)
California (Larus californicus)
Franklin’s (Leucophaeus pipixcan)
Glaucous (Larus hyperboreus)
Iceland (Larus glaucoides)
Ivory (Pagophila eburnean)
Lesser Black-backed (Larus fuscus)
Little (Hydrocoloeus minutus)
Mew (Larus canus)
Sabine’s (Xema sabini)
Thayer’s (Larus thayeri)
John James Audubon, “Black-headed Gull” (the current Laughing Gull, Leucophaeus atricilla, formerly Larus atricilla), in Birds of America, Plate 314, accessed from the Audubon Society, online at https://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/black-headed-gull. This is the source of the Audubon quote in the audio. The complete passage is as follows: “On the 10th of May, 1832, it was my good fortune to be snugly on board the "Lady of the Green Mantle," or, in other words, the fine revenue cutter Marion. The Gulls that laughed whilst our anchors were swiftly descending towards the marvellous [sic] productions of the deep, soon had occasion to be sorrowful enough. As they were in great numbers, officers and men, as well as the American woodsman, gazing upon them from the high decks of the gallant bark, had ample opportunities of observing their motions. They were all busily engaged on wing, hovering here and there around the Brown Pelicans, intent on watching their plunges into the water, and all clamorously teasing their best benefactors. As with broadly extended pouch and lower mandible, the Pelican went down headlong, so gracefully followed the gay rosy-breasted Gull, which, on the brown bird's emerging, alighted nimbly on its very head, and with a gentle stoop instantly snatched from the mouth of its purveyor the glittering fry that moment entrapped!”
Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org. Information on the family of gulls is available at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/browse/taxonomy/Laridae.
Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md. (2006). See particularly pages 40 and 116-118.
Chandler S. Robbins et al., A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2001.
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Title=VaFWIS+Species+Information+By+Name&vUT=Visitor. Information on 16 species of gulls documented in Virginia is at this link, as of 3/27/20.
For More Information about Birds in Virginia and Elsewhere
Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “Merlin Photo ID.” The application for mobile devices allows users to submit a bird photograph to get identification of the bird. Information is available online at http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/.
Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists’ Union, “Birds of North America Online,” online at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna (subscription required).
Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society, “eBird,” online at http://ebird.org/content/ebird/. Here you can find locations of species observations made by contributors, and you can sign up to contribute your own observations.
Stan Tekiela, Birds of Virginia Field Guide, Adventure Publications, Inc., Cambridge, Minn., 2002.
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, “Animal Diversity Web,” online at https://animaldiversity.org/.
Virginia Society of Ornithology, online at http://www.virginiabirds.org/. The Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study, conservation, and enjoyment of birds in the Commonwealth.
Xeno-canto Foundation Web site, online at http://www.xeno-canto.org/. This site provides bird songs from around the world.
RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES
All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the “Birds” subject category.
Following are links to some other episodes on shorebirds.
American Oystercatcher – Episode 488, 9-2-19
Black Skimmers – Episode 213, 5-12-14
Pelicans – Episode 456, 1-21-19
Piping Plover – Episode 79, 9-12-11
Royal Tern – Episode 68, 6-13-11
Sandpipers – Episode 315, 5-9-16
FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION
The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).
2010 Science SOLs
Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 – Virginia natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.
Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
1.5 – animals’ basic needs and distinguishing characteristics.
3.4 – behavioral and physiological adaptations.
Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 – living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.5 – food webs.
3.6 – ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
6.7 – natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Virginia watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.
Life Science Course
LS.1 – understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science, including current applications to reinforce science concepts.
LS.4 – organisms’ classification based on features.
LS.6 – ecosystem interactions, including the water cycle, other cycles, and energy flow.
LS.8 – community and population interactions, including food webs, niches, symbiotic relationships.
BIO.1 – current applications to reinforce science concepts.
BIO.8 – dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.
Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.
Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.