Ambient Colorado
Ambient Colorado

An early May visit to Pawnee National Grasslands, featuring Colorado’s official state bird (the lark bunting), prairie dogs, red-winged blackbirds, and more.

Field recordings by Jacob Job. Hear more from Jacob Job at

Sound design by Patrick McnameeKing. Hear more from Patrick McNameeKing on his podcast, Empty Clouds (Spotify, Apple, Google)

Music by R. J. Fechter. Hear more from R. J. Fechter on and

Series producer: Martin Burch

Series adviser: Ann Marie Awad

Narrator: Sarah Vitak

Series illustration: Mia Rincón

Episode photographs, clockwise from top left:

Grassland sign, Pawnee National Grassland, Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic and Historic Byway, Colorado (George Ostertag/Alamy)

Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado, United States. 6 July 2017. Adult Male doing display flight. Passerellidae (Rick & Nora Bowers/Alamy)

Black tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) Pawnee National Grassland, Colorado, United States. 6 July 2017. Adult Sciuridae (Rick & Nora Bowers/Alamy)

Male red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) displaying, Pawnee National Grassland, Colorado, United States of America (James Hager/Alamy)


Welcome to Ambient Colorado. I’m Sarah Vitak.

We’re visiting the Pawnee National Grassland in Northeastern Colorado today.

It’s a cold and windy May morning on the prairie.

This is the place to hear the official state bird, the lark bunting. And that’s not all.

Nearby, red-wing blackbirds are kicking up a fuss, in a small round marshland known as a prairie pothole. And there’s the unmistakable coo of the mourning dove.

Later, we hear chirps from an iconic grassland native, but this one is a rodent, not a bird. 

Prairie dogs, a type of ground squirrel, stand upright like fluffy meerkats to watch over their underground tunnels.

We end our tour of Colorado’s prairies with birds at Reservoir Ridge … near the city of Fort Collins. Bobolinks fly all the way from South America each year to find a mate here.

Want to hear more from the state’s grasslands … and find out how Jacob captured these scenes?

Be sure to subscribe for a bonus episode with a behind-the-scenes peek at how we make this podcast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *