Posts tagged ‘birds’

THE CATBIRD SINGS HIS SONG, LIKE NO OTHER

Nearly every morning this spring, and I’m sure the trend will continue into summer and fall, with the windows open to welcome the cooling night air, lacking AC, I hear the rambling song of a catbird. Hearing him sing brings a smile to my face. He sounds so happy.

Years ago, when I first heard his song, I thought someone’s parakeet or canary had escaped as I listened to his ever-varying song. Then one day, while doing outside chores, I followed his song to a bush. There he was, a plain-looking gray bird singing his heart out. His appearance was nothing like what his beautiful music led me to believe he would look like. He sat in the bush singing for all he was worth. Going inside, I referenced one of my many bird books and found he was a catbird.

He has no constant song, just a series of unrepeated chirps. There are times I think he should be called the ‘happiness bird’, for his song is a song of total joy, like no other I’ve heard.

Catbirds range over most of the U.S., so listen for him. And for those with AC, open your windows, when the temperature permits, on spring and summer nights. You’ll be surprised at the sounds of nature’s world right outside your window.

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June 21, 2015 at 9:08 pm Leave a comment

OUR BIRDFEEDER DRAWS A CROWD

It may be time to upgrade our squirrel-proof birdfeeder after this new challenge by the masked intruder.

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Believe it or not, this is in a sense, a memoir piece.

We live a suburban life where homes occupy half-acre lots. Not far from home are fields of corn and stands of forest. Our piece of land is bordered by a gully, once the home of railroad tracks. Overgrown now, it is a natural highway for wildlife.

Groundhogs and fox have made dens in the gully’s confines. The groundhogs can be seen lumbering around the front and back yards, or heading towards my garden. Foxes can be heard more than seen, although on winter afternoon I caught the sight of a red fox against a new snow. Summer nights they call, to one another or pierce the tranquility with a rabbit kill. In recent years, deer have appeared in the gully, up to five does occasionally accompanied by a buck, a sure sign of the species overpopulation in the area. Also, a sign of danger for our road is a busy one. Skunks are around, but see almost never only smelled.

The birdfeeder pictured attracts a host of birds, chickadees, cardinals, titmouse, goldfinches and the occasional woodpecker. Now, for two day running the sunflower seeds have also attracted our masked visitor.

“How is this a memoir piece?” those of you still with me are probably asking. The observations above reinforce in me the memories and contrast in my mind my present conditions and those I experienced while growing up in Newark, NJ. When looking out on the tranquil area I call home, I recall our backyard in Newark, dirt and cinder, defying the growth of grass. Our wildlife consisted entirely of squirrels. Our birds were limited to sparrows and starlings, with the occasional robin looking forlorn and confused. Those distant memories help me appreciate the surroundings I inhabit now, help me appreciate my Pennsylvania home.

Some future day, I hope to spend part of the year near the ocean. Its vastness provides a ceaseless source of peace and contemplation. I could never live on its shore year-round, for I fear that that endless body of water would become commonplace and lose its magic. My Newark youth provides no problem in keeping the wonders of nature in prospective.  

September 4, 2014 at 12:07 am Leave a comment


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