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A Bird With A Catlike Name — And Sound

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A Bird With A Catlike Name — And Sound

A Bird With A Catlike Name — And Sound

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

One thing you get on Morning Edition that you get almost nowhere else in quite the same way is a chance to listen to the revealing sound of a voice. Might be the secretary of state, might be a person on the street, might even be a creature in the wild. In our series "Sounds Wild" we're listening to animal sounds. And today we'll hear the bare-throated tiger heron. This long-legged wading bird was recorded in Guatemala by Greg Budney, a biologist from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

(Soundbite of bare-throated tiger heron vocalizing)

Mr. GREG BUDNEY (Curator, Library of Natural Sounds, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology): The bare-throated tiger heron has a spectacular plumage, striped somewhat like a tiger, only the stripes being closer together, and a heavily feathered neck. And as it vocalizes, it extends the neck outward about as far as it can possibly go. It gives this deep, low sound.

When I was making this recording of the bare-throated tiger heron, it was nightfall, and that's when this bird begins to call. We were sitting around the campfire the night before and heard this bird vocalizing. And I had never heard one really close up like this. And we just all looked at each other around the camp in the light of the fire. And I immediately realized this is a great opportunity. I've got to get this. Undoubtedly the name was derived from the plumage having a tiger-striped pattern, but the moment you hear its voice, you can't help think of a large cat.

INSKEEP: NPR correspondent Christopher Joyce tracked down the sounds in "Sounds Wild." And you can find out more about the animals that make them at npr.org.

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