Sounds from Alaska: Thunder Thrush

Thunder, for us Alaska-born-and-bred types, is a hang-up-the-phone-run-out-the-door-whoop-and-gawk experience that happens once every couple of years. I was, fortunately, already outside, recorder in hand, when a storm cracked and rumbled and rolled overhead last week. Headphones clamped to my head, microphone held high, I was surprised to hear that the warblers and thrushes kept right on whistling and tweeting and chipping away, just as they were before the sky let loose its avalanche of sound.

Then I remembered that those tiny, feathered beings spend most of their lives in thunder-rattled regions of Texas and Tucson, Mexico and Guatemala. Business as usual for these guys. If they had grins only half as crazed as the one I was wearing, there is no way they could have kept singing.

Hank Lentfer is the author of Faith of Cranes. He lives on a creek bank in Gustavus, Alaska.


  1. I was a fire lookout on Ester Dome near Fairbanks in the ’70’s. Part of my job was to chart lightening stricks as storms came my way. I never wanted to go inside, thought the storms were upon me!

  2. What??? Are there no thunderstorms in your part of the world? Interesting… Here in southeast Louisiana, lightning and thunder are frequent, deep and powerful. But people here react to rare and precious snowflakes as you did to thunder. With awe and gratitude for fleeting wonders.

Commenting on this item is closed.