Peet Peet, Peter-Wee-Too


That is the ornithologists phonetic spelling of the mating call of the Long-Billed Dowager. Ornithologists are funny that way! But I guess there's really no other way to go about identifying bird calls. Like telling a mechanic what noise your car is making.
I threw out my back the other day and had to spend an entire day laying down. After two hours of laying there thinking, I became deathly bored. But I was distracted by the sight of a big flock of birds landing in the tree outside my window. As my attention focused on them, another group flew into the next tree and suddenly there was a HUGE COMMOTION going on. Fifty birds were twitting and hopping and COMMUNICATING LIKE MAD. I was intrigued. I grabbed my great-grandfather Charles Tegner's binoculars off the shelf beside me and focused on whatever I could. It's tricky, finding the bird you want to see and staying on him (especially when your binoculars are from the 1920's), but it's FANTASTIC! You can see the personality in thier eyes! And they're so beautiful, amazingly graceful and perfect, and you start to think about their life. They have it pretty hard. Even though they have the amazing power of flight, they are vulnerable to harsh weather, predators, etc. But they are like super heros because not only do they thrive in these conditions, they also migrate thousands and thousands of miles every single year. Many of the birds that you see fly over mountains, cities, entire countries to get to their annual destination. That is beyond incredible.
I am going to bird more often. I saw some brilliant little yellow birds from the couch. Being forced to become imobile can be a blessing in disguise. I don't know if I would have grabbed those binoculars if I was swept up in my normal activity. I wrote a song called "Hidden Heaven " about it. A song about a bad back! Sounds like someone is 40. Sometimes, when my back is working properly and I'm on my way to work, I'll be at Pioneer Courthouse Square waiting for my train, and it's a quiet Sunday morning and the square is deserted, a flock of teensy birds..finches? will alight in a shrub near me. I am so touched that there is this family of tiny little guys, surviving in the city. And they sound so damned cheerful!
The bird on the right is the Western Meadowlark, Oregon's State Bird. Personally though, I prefer South Dakota's state bird, the Ring Necked Pheasant. Very distinguished!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Scott k calls the teeny birds "dinky birds." Although they are really Bush Tits. No kidding! We watch the birds in our backyard too.
~Laura in Eugene
Diane said…
I had a children's book called "Tom Tit Moves House" and I was amazed they could get away with that.

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