It’s early on a May morning in the rolling hills of northern Georgia and as some birds are ending their nightly singing, others are just starting up. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. Jeff Jackson is a wildlife expert at the University of Georgia. He says at this time of day, two sets of birds hold forth.
“I think the significant ones are the last night birds to call, like the whippoorwill and I think the first few birds to call, those are kind of interesting. The the wood peewee, and then the wood thrush, is another early one.”
And just as dawn signals the transition of darkness to light, springtime is a season of endings and renewals.
“Spring means we’ll hear the yellow-breasted chat and that’s something that winters south of the border and we’ll hear the last white-throated sparrow calls, all those birds, what we call short-distance migrants, they’ve headed back up to the northern states.”
Plant life is also moving through a continuing cycle in springtime.
“Now here’s one of the things that’s dying now. If you look down on the ground, this is chickweed, and this is a tasty winter annual, a tender thing. Deer are real fond of it, turkeys eat it. Kind of crunchy in my hand here. You see it’s dying. and so spring is also a time of endings and this is one of them. The chickweed is at its end for the year, it’s an annual. It won’t survive as a plant, it’ll survive from seed.”
To hear some of your favorite Pulse of the Planet programs again online, please visit nationalgeographic.com. Pulse of the Planet presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’m Jim Metzner.