Back from Prewitt, Off to Boise

The Labor Day weekend was a busy, sleepless one for me: I helped Ted Floyd lead a three-day workshop on nocturnal migration for the ABA’s Institute for Field Ornithology.  We got up early all three days (ridiculously early on Monday, so that we could head two hours east to Prewitt Reservoir on the Colorado plains) and listened for the microscopic (microsonic?) flight calls of warblers and sparrows overhead in the dark.  Then, after it got light, we did some birding to correlate what we had heard with what we could see on the ground, and we fired up my computer for some spectrographic analysis of the morning’s “take.”  A good time was had by all.

I’d love to recap in more detail and post some of the weekend’s sounds, but that will have to wait until I get back from the Western Field Ornithologists Conference in Boise, tomorrow through Sunday.  Appropriately enough for a conference in Idaho, the keynote speaker is crossbill expert Craig Benkman, and at least one field trip will head to the South Hills for the endemic crossbill there.  I hope to return with better recordings of the elusive “Loxia sinesciuris” than I was able to get in April.  And, for the fourth year in a row, I’ll be chairing the Sound ID panel, which is always among the highlights of my year.

Look for more postings from me next week!

3 comments to Back from Prewitt, Off to Boise

  • Alison

    Hi Nathan

    I am a science teacher in the UK and I’m teaching pitch to eleven year olds. I want to play them some audio clips of high and low pitch and am struggling to find any!!! Until I came across your fantastic web site. Would it be possible for me to have the rising pitch and the pitch where the birdsong goes down in pitch, it really demonstates this well and they are struggling with the concept


  • Is this where you were. Enjoying the page. It is coming along splendidly.

  • Nathan Pieplow


    I would be happy to let you use the recordings. Just send me an email ( and we’ll go from there.