Sounds of Springtime


We hear the creeks gurgling once again. Bird songs fill the air.

In the National Parks, we often talk about Soundscapes…. The chorus of sounds that we associate with a specific landscape or set of resources.

One such sound, typical of Denali’s spring season, is that of the call of a male Willow Ptarmigan. It’s his mating call. And it certainly is catchy. You pretty much can’t mistake it for any other sound.

Last week, I had a visitor ask me about frogs in the park. He was convinced he’d heard a frog. We talked for a brief moment about the one frog that calls Denali ‘home’. And then I pulled out my little tablet computer and played (thanks to the _iBird_ app) for him the call of the male Willow Ptarmigan. Turns out, the Ptarmigan is what he heard, not the frog.

Between Mount Rainier and Denali, I have learned the distinct calls of a couple of birds: grouses and ptarmigan. Very interesting calls. And very memorable.

Click on the link: Willow Ptarmigan to view a video I took of this guy, strutting his stuff. I apologize for wind and creaking noises; today was very windy in the park!