Photo from http://www.squidoo.com/birding-by-ear
Here it is, St. Patrick’s Day. This is the day when we are supposed to plant our peas in the Northeast, yet it is bitter cold, there is still snow on the ground, the earth is rock hard, and people are very grumpy in this neck of the woods! Hold tight! It will come! I know this because the birds are singing! Our resident Dude Cardinal is outside right now, singing his heart out, staking out his mating territory and trying to attract the most Kick-butt Cardinal Lady for his 2014 Spring Sweetheart.
In a few weeks, I will be able to hear other Dude Cardinals in the outer edges of my neighborhood. They will respond when our Dude sings, with their own songs, as if to say ‘Yeah, well Ladies, I can sing much better than that Dude! Come check me out!’ Or perhaps they are working out the borders of each others’ territories with little song-duals. In any case, it’s fascinating to sit and really listen to the conversation.
Once I started to focus on birdsong, instead of it being a background sound, I began to start to learn who was who. I still have a lot to learn, but as I garden, particularly in the spring, I listen as I work.
It’s always thrilling to hear when a hawk has arrived to the area, and I send a silent prayer to the birdie gods, to help the wee ones escape the hawk’s “eagle eye”.
Sometimes I, and my fellow gardeners, hear a particularly intensely beautiful song that we can’t identify. It stops us in our tracks and we crane our necks trying to find the singer.
In any case, even though it’s very cold out, I am glad the birds are here, and that the singing has begun. Soon we will begin to hear the Dawn Chorus! Have you ever really listened to the Dawn Chorus? It’s insane!!! Check it out in April, just as the sky begins to lighten, linger under the warm covers for just a few more minutes and revel in the cacophony!
Here’s a link to an interesting article from the Bird Labs at Cornell, about the Dawn Chorus:
How about you? Are you putting your best foot forward this spring? Getting your garden ready? Exercising? Eating right? Thinking about some cheery colored feathers to don? Go for it! We REALLY deserve to strut our stuff after such a long, cold, snowy, seemingly endless winter!