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North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department

Nature News


By: Kathy Duttenhefner, Biologist

North Dakota’s State Park’s beautiful prairies, woodlands, wetlands and lakes provide the perfect setting for Nature’s Summer Dawn Concerts. Brew a pot of coffee, make a cup of tea, pack a morning snack, bring a chair or a blanket and get ready for a fabulous, unforgettable “Summer Dawn Concert”.

“Summer Dawn Concert” singers perform daily throughout the summer months. To get the best seat for this concert you may have to get up as early as 4 am. The dawn concert typically last several hours until the sun has risen and begins to warm the land. The early singers tend to be robins, blackbirds, thrushes, and wrens.


The American robin is often the first soloist on the program. The robin’s musical solo “Cheerily, Cheer up, Cheer up, Cheerily, Cheer up”, is soon accompanied by other robins. Blackbirds often compete with the robins for top billing.


The Red-winged blackbirds powerful, musical voices belt out an easily recognized number “Conk-ra-lee”. The Blackbird takes the stage, smartly dressed all in black and harmonizes with its beautiful, bubbling, warbling song. Soon after the robin and blackbird wake-up songs, the early morning is filled with bird songs.

The Wood thrush’s loud, flutelike song, “Ee-Oh-Lay” rings through the forest and woodlands.

house wren

The perky, House Wren spices up the concert with it gurgling, bubbling, exuberant chatter song.

If you happen to have the opportunity to take in the “Summer Dawn Chorus”, at Lake Metigoshe State Park, the White-Throated Sparrow may steal the show with its “Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody” or “Oh Sweet Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada”.


Singing back-up is the Black-capped Chickadee with its popular hit, “Chick-a-dee-dee or “Fee-bee” and the White-breasted Nuthatch’s top single, “Hank Hank”.

"Summer Dawn Concerts” on the prairie offer that unique western flare with the Eastern Meadowlarks taking center stage singing everyone’s country western favorite “Seeee-oooo, see-yeer” and “Spring of the Year”. The Western Meadowlark rich, liquid whistles at different pitches carry across the grasslands.


Other singers appearing on the “Summer Dawn Chorus” program include:

  • Rufous-sided Towhee - “Drink Your Tea”
  • Yellow Warbler“Sweet, Sweet, Sweet I’m So Sweet”
  • Common Yellow Throat“Wichity, Whichity, Whichity, Which”
  • Overbird“Tea-Cher, Tea-Cher, Tea-Cher”
  • Eastern Phoebe“Fee-bee”
  • Northern Oriole“Here, Here, Come Right Here”
  • Song Sparrow“Maids, Maids, Maids-Put-On-Your-Tea-Kettle-Ettle-Ettle”
  • Mourning Dove“WhoooOooo-Who-Who-Who”

Listen, relax and enjoy the show!

Share your park dawn chorus experineces on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ndprd

As I come over the hill, I hear the wood thrush singing his evening lay. This is the only bird whose note affects me like music, affects the flow and tenor of my thoughts, my fancy and imagination. It lifts and exhilarates me ... It is a medicative draught to my soul. It is an elixir to my eyes and a fountain of youth to all my senses...

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 1853