Saturday, September 5, 2009


In the absence of a full-blown holiday, I must take my breaks where I can. I had a few moments on my deck today, watching the birds. The song birds were silent as the crows, magpies, and one unidentified grey-back among with the 'pies were busy furrowing out insects and grubs from the lawn. The crow up in his tree was the bird equivalent of deep-throat. His call is so deep and out of the ordinary, I do hope he either grows out of his juvenile awkwardness, or his flock accepts him anyways.

Back to the grey-back, I looked him up. He's a Northern Flicker. I've seen flocks of him before around this time; migrating is my guess. The field guide confirmed he is the only woodpecker that feeds from the ground.

While I was digging around, I found all the bird calls I've wondered about this summer, but failed to glimpse. I have confirmed my childhood memories. I hear mom's voice, "That's a Chipping Sparrow" and, delighted, "A Vireo!". The Chipping Sparrow, my mother would say, you would hear on the hottest days. The hotter the day, the faster the sparrow would buzz. This summer I could pinpoint the tree the fella was singing his territory song, but I could never get a clear look at him. Next summer I will take a look for a spot of red on his head.

The Vireo has a singsong call, distinctive and beautiful. My daughter would be pleased to know that it thrives where trees are not sprayed for pesticide. It lives off the bugs in the trees. We haven't sprayed the trees in our townhome complex for many years.

You can hear the calls of all three birds at the links I provided.