The Bird Meme: Day 17

Day 17: Favorite bird song

Wood Thrush

This one will likely depend on how we define "song." If any vocalization from any bird will do, then we'll have to consider a sizable slate of possible favorites: the wavering cry of the Common Loon, or the Woody-like laugh of the Pileated Woodpecker, or the descending scream of the Red-tailed Hawk.

But even if we're going to limit ourselves to the realm of actual songbirds, there are still going to be quite a few candidates. I am certainly fond of many songs, and like human songs, it's ordinarily because of the associations I have with them. For example:

Eastern Meadowlark: the slurred "spring is here" remains a powerful reminder of my days in Ithaca and the Spring Field Ornithology course I took there.

Bobolink: I'll never forget this delightful, improbable song after the SFO outing where I was told that the way to find a Bobolink was to "listen for R2D2."

Northern Cardinal: kind of a cliche, maybe, but I do dearly love the springtime days when you can hear the males singing from the treetops. 

Field Sparrow: the distinctive speeding-up/pitching-down song of the FiSp has been compared with a bouncing ball and a ruler on the edge of a desk, but I kind of hear the opening of Lloyd Cole's "Loveless" in it.

Indigo Bunting: I love the paired phrases of the male's song, which always puts me in mind of A.A. Milne's poem "Disobedience": "James James/ Morrison Morrison/ Weatherby George Dupree/ Took great/ Care of his mother/ Though he was only three"

To the list of passerine songs I love you can add the satisfied "drink your tea" of the Eastern Towhee, the stentorian "teakettle teakettle" of the Carolina Wren, and the lilting "potato chip" call of the American Goldfinch, but the song I think I most love is the one I usually hear from deep in the forest. If I get a glimpse of the singer, it's a bit of a treat, as he tends to be more retiring than his cousin, the Hermit Thrush. But even if I get no glimpse of the reddish head, black breast spots, and bright eye, there's nothing quite so enticing and yet so haunting as the distant fluting of the Wood Thrush. If Luthien Tinuviel had been a New World elf, I strongly suspect this is the bird to which Beren would have compared her, rather than the busy, chattering Nightingale.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on October 1, 2017 4:22 PM.

The Bird Meme: Day 16 was the previous entry in this blog.

The Bird Meme: Day 18 is the next entry in this blog.

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