Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Birdsong


Song Sparrow

Over the past several days, more spring vocalists have returned to the prairie parcel of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Last weekend I didn't hear a single Song Sparrow, but today their delightful voices were all around me during my walk. I know their songs aren't meant for me, but I can't help but appreciate them in that sense at times. However, in their minds it's all part of the very serious business of establishing and defending territory.


Singing Song Sparrow

Though not at all challenging for a seasoned birder, the cacophony of March birdsong is still fun to sort through. Included were White-throated Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-winged Blackbird, and various woodpecker species. In the distance I heard Canada Geese honking and Sandhill Cranes bugling every time another pair arrived at the marsh.

Many joggers who pass by are wired with an iPod or some other type of music player. I find this a little sad because they're missing out on such an incredible natural soundtrack. I like having the ability to hear even the faintest chrip or seep call that immediately signals the presence of a Winter Wren or Brown Creeper. It would never occur to me to drown all that out for the sake of physical exercise. What about the art of listening to what's all around you? Shouldn't that be a recurrent form of exercise for all of us as well?

"When did I abandon the rich soundscape that called to me in childhood, the quack, chirp, whinny, bark, whine, bleat, hoot, honk, and warble of birds, the whisper howl of the winds, the splash and swoosh of water? When was the last time I fell asleep listening intently to the lullaby of cicadas or the sound of soft rain on the tin roof? And why did I cease listening?"

~ Sam Keen


Red-winged Blackbird

Location: Pheasant Branch
Observation date: 3/13/11
Number of species: 31

Canada Goose
Mallard
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Sandhill Crane
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Purple/House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2011 Mike McDowell


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