Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Episode 603 (11-15-21): Last Bird Out

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:35).

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 11-12-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of November 15, 2021.  This revised episode from October 2013 is the first in a series this year of winter-related episodes.

MUSIC – ~ 21 sec – Lyrics: “Summer’s over, winter’s coming.  Summer’s gone, the days were long; now the moonlight froze the dawn.  Summer’s over, winter’s coming.”

That’s part of “Winter is Coming,” from the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Va.-based band, The Steel Wheels.  It sets the stage for exploring a characteristic feathered feature of the transition from fall to winter.  To start, we drop in on a chattering crowd of eager flyers, who then hear their long-distance flights being announced but no planes are taking off.  If this sounds like a huge airport headache instead of a water event, well, just have a listen for about 35 seconds.

SOUNDS and VOICES - ~36 sec – Voice call-outs:
“Sora.  Snowy Egret.  Green Heron.  Osprey.  Least Tern.  Piping Plover.  Broad-winged Hawk.”

You’ve been listening to the names and sounds of seven kinds of birds that are known to spend summer in Virginia and then typically migrate out of the Commonwealth for winter.  Fall’s arrival means the departure from the Commonwealth of many species of birds—including the first six you just heard—who may nest in spring and summer around Virginia’s aquatic areas.  Fall also brings seasonal migrations of land-based birds—including the seventh species you heard, the forest-dwelling Broad-winged Hawk—that travel over watery areas of Virginia, particularly the Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Peninsula.  In fact, the concentration of hawks and other migrants along Virginia’s Eastern Shore makes it an important and popular location for monitoring bird migration, and the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory maintains a migrant-counting platform in Kiptopeke State Park in Northampton County.  Among various programs at the Observatory, Kiptopeke Hawkwatch has been conducted at that location since 1977.  In fall 2021, over 17,000 migrating hawks and other raptors had been recorded as of late October.

Thanks to Lang Elliott for permission to use the other bird sounds, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, and to several Virginia Tech colleagues for calling out the bird names.  Thanks also to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Winter is Coming.”

MUSIC – ~23 sec – Lyrics: “Summer’s gone, we’re movin’ on, can’t regret that frozen dawn.  Summer’s over, winter’s coming.  Summer’s over, winter’s coming.”


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 Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 183, 10-14-13.

“Winter is Coming,” from the 2015 album “We’ve Got a Fire,” is copyright by The Steel Wheels, used with permission.  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at http://www.thesteelwheels.com/.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 292, 11-30-15.

The sounds of Sora, Snowy Egret, Green Heron, Osprey, Least Tern, Piping Plover, and Broad-winged Hawk were taken 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, whose work is available online at the “Music of Nature” Web site, http://www.musicofnature.org/.

Thanks to Eli Heilker, Sarah Karpanty, Kevin McGuire, and Tony Timpano for recording bird names.  Thanks to Dr. Karpanty also for her help in developing the idea for this episode.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.


An observation station for the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory in Kiptopeke State Park, Northampton County, Virginia, October 7, 2007.  The chart listed the birds of prey that had been counted to date during that year’s fall migration on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

North American migratory bird flyways.  Map by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, accessed online at https://www.fws.gov/birds/management/flyways.php, 11/16/21.


Used for Audio

Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory, online at http://www.cvwo.org/.

Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rd Edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 2006.

Chandler S. Robbins et al., A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, St. Martin’s Press, New York, N.Y., 2001.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “Birds of the World,” online at https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/home (subscription required).

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, online at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/eastern_shore_of_virginia/.

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries):
Fish and Wildlife Information Service, online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/.  Entries for the species mentioned in this episode are located online as follows:
Broad-winged Hawk: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040089&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.
Green Heron: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040028&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.
Least Tern: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040186&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.
Osprey: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040095&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.
Piping Plover: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040120&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.
Snowy Egret: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040033&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.
Sora: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040108&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.

For More Information about Birds in Virginia and Elsewhere

Chesapeake Bay Program, “Birds,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/all/birds/all.

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 the Audubon Society, “eBird,” online at https://ebird.org/home.  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 Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “List of Native and Naturalized Fauna in Virginia, August 2020,” online (as a PDF) at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/virginia-native-naturalized-species.pdf.

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, online at http://www.xeno-canto.org/.  This site provides bird songs from around the world.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Birds” and “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject categories.

Following are links to several other winter-related episodes, including episodes on some birds that reside in Virginia typically only in winter (listed separately).  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in late 2021 and early 2022; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes.

Freezing and ice – Episode 403, 1-15-18 (especially for grades K-3).
Frost – Episode 597, 10-4-21.
Ice on ponds and lakes – Episode 404, 1-22-18 (especially for grades 4-8).
Ice on rivers – Episode 406, 2-5-18 (especially for middle school grades).
Polar Plunge® for Special Olympics – Episode 356, 2-20-17.
Snow physics and chemistry – Episode 407, 2-12-18 (especially for high school grades).
Snow, sleet, and freezing rain – Episode 461, 2-25-19.
Snow terms – Episode 300, 1-25-16.
Surviving freezing (by animals) – Episode 556, 12-21-20.
Winter precipitation and water supplies – Episode 567, 3-8-21.
Winter preparedness – Episode 553, 11-30-20.
Water thermodynamics – Episode 195, 1-6-14. 

Bird-related Episodes

Audubon Christmas Bird CountEpisode 294, 12-14-15.
American Avocet – Episode 543, 9-21-20.
Brant (goose) – Episode 502, 12-9-19.
Canvasback (duck) – Episode 197, 1-20-14.
Common Goldeneye (duck) – Episode 303, 2/15/16.
Green-winged Teal (duck) – Episode 398, 12-11-17.
Grebes (Horned and Red-necked) – Episode 233, 9-29-14.
Loons – Episode 445, 11-5-18.
Snow Goose – Episode 507, 1/13/20.
Tundra Swan – Episode 554, 12-7-20.
Winter birds sampler from the Chesapeake Bay area – Episode 565, 2-22-21.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs 

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs 

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive.
2.4 – Plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes as they grow and develop, including life cycles.
2.5 – Living things are part of a system.
3.4 – Adaptations allow organisms to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
K.9 – There are patterns in nature.
1.7 – There are weather and seasonal changes.
2.7 – Weather patterns and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings.
4.4 – Weather conditions and climate have effects on ecosystems and can be predicted.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.
4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6
6.8 – Land and water have roles in watershed systems.

Life Science
LS.7 – Adaptations support an organism’s survival in an ecosystem.
LS.8 – Change occurs in ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms over time.

BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and 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 (* indicates episode listed above in the “Related Water Radio Episodes” section).

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.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20
– on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.