Here’s my idea for how to celebrate Earth Day: get up (early if possible), grab your coffee or other beverage of choice, go outside, sit in your comfy outdoor chair, close your eyes and listen! 

The idea is to listen to the sounds of the Earth. And, since I’m a bird guy, I recommend you listen to the voices of the birds wherever you are. 

For most of North America (apologies to my friends at high latitudes in Alaska and Canada), this is a great time of year to do this, since the breeding season is well underway for most species. 

Even if your ear is not finely tuned to birdsong, try to pick out as many kinds of sounds (songs, calls, drums, etc.) as possible. You can even make a game of it by tallying all the different sounds (special Earth Day dispensation from me: if you live in an area with Northern Mockingbirds, you can count a single bird more than once!). 

I was inspired by one of my favorite passages in “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold, in which he does just this and describes the changing chorus, starting from before daybreak. 

You’ll find this to be a rewarding experience, I guarantee it, and you’ll also learn a lot about birds (it’s amazing how many birds are out there singing when it’s still dark). 

I’ll be out there — I hope you will, too.

(Image: Northern mockingbird. Source: Omarrun through a Creative Commons license.)

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  1. i just did this! we are on the same page this am! chickadees building a nest in the bird house. catbirds, loads of sparrows and a few red tail hawks this morning.

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