Posted by: atowhee | March 5, 2020


I was stacking our final cord of firewood for this winter.  I noticed a birdsong coming from a neighbor’s dogwood.  I listened.  It wasn’t a recognizable song, but the voice sounded familiar.  As I  listened the voice said “Song Sparrow” and then I saw the singer about ten feet up in the tree.  Our feeders are about twenty yards away and I had seen a single Song Sparrow there earlier, probably the same one.  This Song Sparrow just didn’t have the song.
I’m not a musician myself,  but I listen a lot.  If you want to sing opera you’d better hear some Verdi and Mozart done by the pros…first.  If you are gonna start a rock band, listen to some Bo Diddly and Buddy Holly.  Then on to Beach Boys, Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.  Add on some tunes you like since 1980.  This young Song Sparrow needs to do some listening.  We know that many songbirds tune up and develop “mature” songs in their first spring.  This male will not sing his father’s song, he will sing the song of nearby adult males.  I have counted over a dozen Song Sparrows in the wetlands at Joe Dancer.  I would advise this guy to get over there…and listen.  Some mature males will show him the song that could attract a female to listen, maybe even join you on your bush.  Meanwhile, he has the voice…it’s his song that is not noteworthy.
Another round of bird sound was initiated by an angry Bewick’s Wren.  The dog and I stopped too near his chosen Japanese maple and he gave us a severe wrenish scolding.  Hormones and territorial behavior are rising.  In our garden we had male juncos and yellow-rumps chasing one another today.  Starlings were pushing one another off the suet log.  Just a few weeks ago they would all hang on and share…not now.

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