For the Birds Radio Program: A Walk along the Western Waterfront Trail

Original Air Date: June 27, 1986

Laura talks about the treats in for hikers along Duluth’s Western Waterfront Trail.

Duration: 2′47″


A Walk Along the Western Waterfront Trail

(Recording of a Veery)

Whether you’re a walker, a runner, or a biker, and whether you have a half hour or the whole day, the Western Waterfront Trail is the perfect place to see some nice Duluth birds in a pleasant setting.

Park at the lot marked by the Western Waterfront Trail sign on Grand Avenue across from the Duluth Zoo. The start of the trail takes you through some nice moist woods, where veeries nest. You’ll have a hard time seeing these secretive thrushes, close relatives of robins, but you have an excellent chance to hear them sing or call:

(Recording of a Veery)

There’s a little foot bridge along this part of the trail. Stop at it and you may spot the little bird which some people call a wild canary–the Yellow Warbler.

(Recording of a Yellow Warbler)

Keep following the trail until you come to the cattail marsh. You can’t miss the Red-winged Blackbirds. They whistle, make harsh chipping notes, and produce all sorts of noises.

(First part of Recording of a Red-winged Blackbird)

Male Red-winged Blackbirds use their bright red epaulets to warn other males off their territories and to attract mates. When they are displaying, they often sing their territorial song. One ornithologist decided that their song sounds like they’re saying, “O-ka-lee.” What do you think?

(Remainder of recording of Red-winged Blackbird)

As you go long the edge of the marsh, you may see flickers, robins, Cedar Waxwings, Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and lots of other interesting birds. Last summer Yellow-throated Vireos nested right along the trail. One bird that you probably won’t see may well call from its hiding place in the cattails.

(Recording of a Sora)

That’s the call of a Sora–an elusive marsh bird with the distinction of having the shortest official name of all the birds of North America.

You can walk five miles along the trail if you feel like it. Some new birds, like Great Crested Flycatchers and Clay-colored Sparrows, begin to appear once you get past the cattail marsh. Of course, just about anywhere along the trail you’re bound to hear that most common of all sounds in the Minnesota outdoors:

(Slapping sound–“Got ‘im!”)

This is Laura Erickson, and this program has been “For the Birds.”