Pine Woods Medley

photo of dawn in southern pine woods

Spring is coming to the southern pine woods . . . perhaps it has already arrived! With over two feet of snow on the ground here in Ithaca, New York, it is difficult for me to imagine that spring is just around the corner.

Wanting to taste the flavor of the pine woods soundscape, I searched my collection and came up with a pleasing recording from April 29 of 1994. I well remember the experience. I was exploring the Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee, Florida, and camped one night near the Sopchoppy River. At the break of dawn, a Great-crested Flycatcher established the rhythm of the chorus with regular slurred notes accompanied by soft throaty garbles (his special dawn song). Bachman Sparrows soon joined in with their musical songs—thin whistles followed by trills. Many other birds sounded off in the distance, including Chuck-will’s-widow, American Crow, and Northern Cardinal. Listen also for the continuous trilling of crickets. What a wonderfully piney medley!

Pine woods dawn chorus featuring Great-crested Flycatcher and Bachman’s Sparrow. 6am, 29 April 1994. Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee, Florida. Recorded by Lang Elliott.

My friend Bob McGuire is heading to Florida in a couple of weeks. He will be recording bird songs and calls in the Florida panhandle. It will probably be a tad early for him to get a soundscape as rich as this one, but who knows? Whatever Bob finds, I’m sure he’ll home-in on some exciting sound events. So let’s all wish him well as he rushes toward the leading edge of spring.

Good Luck Bob!


  1. My bad. I meant Spot-Breasted Oriole. Some other Florida-only birds I would love to see are Smooth-Billed Ani, Mangrove Cuckoo, and White-Crowned Pigeon.

  2. I hear Great Crested Flycatchers, Bachman’s Sparrows, American Crows, Chuck-Will’s Widows, Northern Cardinals, and a Common Nighthawk. What a wonderfully diverse soundscape. I want to go to Florida some day soon to see special Florida birds like American Flamingo, Shiny Cowbird, Streak-Breasted Oriole, Limpkin, Swallow-Tailed Kite, and more.

    My friend Austin went to Florida earlier this year. He told me he saw a strange bird with iridescent purple feathers and a long curved bill. I told him it was probably a Glossy Ibis because, what else would it be?

  3. Its funny to listen to “older” (for me) recordings like this and remember where I was at that time. April 29, 1994 actually was a pretty horrific day in my life (followed by months of more horrificness)… Also to think about how many generations of these birds and frogs have come and gone since then, putting life into perspective nicely. Just love these raw soundscapes.

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