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The Sounds of Fall

Fall is officially here. Labor Day is in the rearview mirror, school has started, and of course the equinox occurred on the twenty-second. With the coming of fall, many among us wait in eager anticipation for the leaves to turn color. Every year about this time we get anxious to see the trees put on their annual color display. The fall colors are delightful, and they seem to garner much of our attention and media coverage. But do not lose sight (pun intended) of the sounds of fall!

There are many sounds to hear during the fall, ranging from the rustling of leaves to the bugling of elk. But it is perhaps the sounds of migrating waterfowl that best characterize the sounds of the season. Perhaps it is the gurgling of sandhill cranes or the hooting of tundra swans overhead that catches our attention. No doubt some of you recognized that earlier recording of snow geese. Large flocks of snow geese on their migration to warmer climes seems to always pique our sense of awe and wonder of the natural world.

If it is waterfowl you are after, they can be found across the state, and most North Dakotans live within easy driving distance to a National Wildlife Refuge. In many of these refuges waterfowl can be easily observed during the fall migration. Examples include J. Clark Salyer National Refuge near Upham, Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge in Sargent County, Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge near Kenmare, and Audubon National Wildlife Refuge near Coleharbor. Plus, there are many waterfowl production areas and wildlife management areas where waterfowl can be observed. And of course, if you spend some time outdoors most anywhere in the state you may hear and see waterfowl overhead.

Make a point of getting outdoors and enjoying more of the natural world this fall. Soak in the sights and sounds of the season. Although you may be able to enjoy the sights from the comfort of your home or car, to really enjoy the sounds of fall you need to spend some time outdoors. So find some places outdoors to relax, get comfortable, and listen to the sounds of fall in North Dakota!

Chuck Lura has a broad knowledge of "Natural North Dakota"and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005, Chuck has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror, and his “The Naturalist” columns appear in several other weekly North Dakota newspapers.
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