There aren’t many things worth volunteering to get up at 5:00 for… but I discovered it to be a lovely and peaceful time of day, perfect for listening to birdsong!
One morning this week I accompanied an expert birder on her rounds to inventory a set of marsh birds in several local riparian areas. Distinguishing birdsong is quite an incredible skill. I know a raven. And a duck. And a red-winged blackbird. Oh, and a chickadee! (Ha!) But the rest is just…generic birdsong. A Rail and a Sora? I didn’t even know those were birds? A Bittern I had heard of, and a Coot and a Grebe. But their calls? Most unusual. One was rather like an amplified PLUNK of water. Another reminded me of a cross between a donkey and a squeaky water toy. Then there was the one that resembled a shoot ‘em up arcade game…
We listened for these and other calls and we listened to the morning birdsong of a host of other birds (that I could not identify!) waking the dawn. And we felt the sun rise to chase away the early morning chill.
And though we did not actually see the birds we tracked and hoped to hear (some of them are extremely secretive), we did see the morning in all its freshness and it was worth rising early… just to listen.
And of course I had to take pictures of what I could see…
And Mr. and Mrs. Mallard!
“The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing [of birds] is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land…” Song of Solomon 2:12