Tag Archives: bird song

Even Grebes Have Redneck Cousins

I haven’t pursued competitive birding since I was twelve years old. I can’t tell you how many bird species are on my life list now. While I still have the habit of listening to the spring migrants in id-May, I don’t compile a century count. Today, though, I felt something like the frisson of seeing a new “life bird” even though I had seen it once before, decades ago, in Alaska. Ms. Modigliani treated me to a birthday breakfast of lox and bagels on the Oakville jetty early this morning. We heard an astonishing bird call that sounded like a bleating lamb led to slaughter. I couldn’t name it. Then a bird photographer working near the lighthouse showed us a pair of red-necked grebes at the mouth of 16-Mile Creek. I never heard their call in Alaska. I had no idea they were nesting in the Great Lakes region. Continue reading

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Listening for The First Song of Spring

After 12 days of snow cover and subfreezing temperatures, I’ll take any sign I can get that spring will come. I heard it just before daybreak this morning in the song of a Carolina wren. It’s been around all year, of course, and I hear its call notes every day. But today it sang its strident territorial song for the first time this winter. It’s singing a week earlier than I expected.

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A Cacophony of Cranes Made Me a True Believer

Every December a  dark moment comes when I tell myself that I’m too old for cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood.  This moment arrives with the first ice storm of winter, when I need to work outside in marginal conditions with … Continue reading

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Café Mouffe: His Eye is on the Sparrow

I planned to devote this week’s Mouffe to Miriam Makeba. Then I chanced upon this version of His Eye is on the Sparrow sung by a Mississippi children’s choir. I wish I knew more about the phenomenal soloist. It’s a … Continue reading

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