May 5, 2012

The lusty songs of birds

goose photobomb

This photo cracked me up so hard I just had to share the giggle.  Duck photobomb!  (I just realized this is the second funny duck photo I've posted.  What is it about ducks that I find so hilarious?)

Today is a really quiet day.  Mostly I've been relaxing with United States of Tara on Netflix streaming, and checking up on the blogs I follow.  

Right now there is a catbird singing outside my window.  At least I'm pretty sure it's a catbird - it hasn't yet made the tell-tale "mew" sound yet.  Mimic birds can be hard to tell apart sometimes.  I can also hear a cardinal, robins, crows, a mourning dove, something making a high-pitched "zee" noise I can't identify, and those damned invasive house sparrows. 

I'm really into bird calls, if you can't tell.  And really good at identifying them, too.  I realized this back in college when I took a bird taxonomy class.  Most of my classmates were good at visual ID, but me, I always focused on the songs.  Maybe it's all those years of musical training that make it easier for me to distinguish things like tone, articulation, melody, timbre and texture, and rhythm and learn to attribute them to different sources.

Thrushes are my favorite bird to listen to.  Their songs are so melodic and complex, like songs of the gods. Here's a video of a Wood Thrush song, which has a delightful echoiness to it when heard in the woods.  They're not as common in the DC 'burbs where I live now, but we used to hear them all the time during our bird taxonomy field trips in Delaware.

Birds sing to attract mates and to mark their territory.  Not unlike the music written by humans, really!

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