Pasture Dawn

A foggy morning at a grassy pasture in Berkeley County, WV.Hello, Wil Hershberger here. One of my favorite times of day is dawn. From first light through sun-up, as the world awakens and song returns to the earth I get a feeling of renewal, of rebirth. I feel invigorated for the rest of the day.

A particularly magical morning occurred last summer near my home at a large pasture along a lonely country road. There were American toads singing from a pond in the distance and grassland birds were singing from the field. Not far to the right was a copse of trees that supported a variety of open habitat birds. It was still well before sunrise when I started this recording. Grasshopper sparrows were the most vocal and evident species. Spring field crickets, American robins, tufted titmouse, American crows, red-bellied woodpeckers, American toads and green frogs can all be heard in the background, along with cows mooing near the end. I particularly enjoyed the counter singing of the grasshopper sparrows as these males vie for mates and sing to the world that this spot in the pasture is theirs.

Grasshopper sparrows in pasture. Berkeley County, WV. May 23, 2010. ©Wil Hershberger.

What do you think? Are the grasshopper sparrows too loud? Is the presence of cows a turn off or do you like them? This is the time of the year when farmers separate the calves from their mothers and I don’t think that she was very happy with this situation! I was really impressed that I was able to record for nearly 20 minutes without a jet, car, truck or dog contaminating the aural beauty.


  1. I love this recording. I hear Field Crickets, Tufted Titmice, American Crows, a Red-Eyed Vireo, American Toads, the Grasshopper Sparrows, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, and the cows at the end. I actually like the sound of the cows.

  2. Just as “Rhonda” commented, it truly took me back to a place that I wish were still my home. Especially with the cows. I’m enjoying listening to all these beautiful recordings. So nice to have this on a very cold winter day.

  3. Listening while reading reports of new frankencrops and shale fracking in the Delaware Basin, I was pleased to be reined back in to hope by this soundscape to a consciousness of nature at her fullsome, unmanipulated best and away from prospective horrors of recent most careless plans of man. I wonder if those cows will enjoy this summer’s forage of gene spliced alfalfa. I wonder about the sanctity of aquifers, headwaters, tribs, and all the teeming life dependent thereon.

    But, I smiled to glance at the sonogram which *looks like* cows grazing in a meadow.

  4. I really liked it too, and I wish it sounded like my back yard. I hear grackles, starlings, house sparrows, and pigeons in the spring. Positive note–I can smell coffee being roasted from the New England Coffee Company; I’d rather smell fresh cut hay.

  5. love the calling grasshopper sparrows, but I don’t care for the bawling cow.. it’s too dominant and detracts me from the birdsong
    (I grew up on a farm and cows truly mourn the removal of their calves.. it’s not at all a peaceful sound to my ears)

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