It began with a White-Throated Sparrow, with its extraordinary high-pitched song. It likely wasn’t the first singer of the morning, but it was the first to draw my attention. Soon I was sitting outside in the cold, dim light, sipping coffee and wondering at the divisi chorus rising with the lux level. I’m no expert on the songs of the forest, and cheat with an app to help me pick out unfamiliar singers. I mourn lost opportunities to learn such things as I grew up, but I push that aside and double down on learning now. Instead of mastering the songs of forest birds growing up I mastered the catalog of music spanning the 50’s to the 90’s. It’s a trade-off I can live with.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn now. An active, engaged mind is the best student. And I’m quickly noting the various singers amongst me as I slowly walk around the edge of the woods: Robin, Carolina Wren, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Mourning Dove, Purple Finch, Black-Capped Chickadee, Cardinal, Northern Flicker, Crow, House Wren, Blue Jay, Eastern Towhee, Bluebird, Wild Turkey, Red-Bellied Woodpecker… I hear or see each of them in the span of an hour. There are others I don’t recognize and the app fails to decipher them amongst the dominant voices of the Nuthatch, Cardinal and the White-Throated Sparrow who started it all today. So it goes. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’m happy to add another couple of singers to my catalog of favorites.
The morning progresses and the hum of leaf blowers and lawn mowers and some form of pumping truck create their own chorus. The sounds of suburbia. I live on the edge of the woods, but the other edge is getting on with their weekend chores. All good things must come to an end I suppose. Until tomorrow, woodland chorus. Save me a seat up front, won’t you?