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Sat Jun 7, 2014, 08:46 PM

 

Oh, Mockingbirds!

Last edited Sun Jun 8, 2014, 04:54 PM - Edit history (4)


This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing
the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing
better to do
than listen.
I mean this
seriously.
-Mary Oliver


MY catbird talks to me all day, every day, all season long.

He's been coming back to my yard for years and years. It's been so many years that I suspect it's been more than one bird learning our shared songs from the other. Everyone here calls him my bird . . . like I asked him to wake us at the break of dawn and plead almost endlessly with us for his attention every evening.

Like I can help it if he likes my choice of the evening music I play from my computer - He probably thinks its me strumming my guitar and singing with every husky-voiced melody that seeps out of the backdoor - soft and low like a seductive invitation to dance; or sweet and high to tenderly touch the yearning heights of his own sweet repertoire.

He didn't come the year after my father died, not one catbird paid me any mind - but the following year my catbird returned. He perched on a low branch above me, we both shared our year's experience together (in crazy song) for about a half-hour until I was exhausted. He never tires of singing out - and he's louder than the rest of the neighborhood birds.

He's taken to spotting me at the window at my computer, and, last year I startled him away from our outside gazebo because he was just so loud and annoying I couldn't hear myself think. He's a bit wary of me now. That's a good thing.

He's taken to following my wife to work, she believes . . . said she saw him perched atop a light post when she took her lunch break in her car. Must have been pretty hot up there because the poor thing singed its little feet and ended up kicking around in the construction dust in the road trying to cool them off.

Mockingbirds and catbirds do obsess on us when we interact with them. Best not to attract too much of their attention, I think. Better to let them get on with the business of interacting appropriately with their natural partners. Best to not encourage too much of our own compromised humanness in their expressions.

Better to just listen to them - but we can't really help talking back; I can't help it - I give him a playful scold once in a while and a sympathetic sound when he comes by the door squalling about something or the other. 'Whaaa! Whaaa!'

Yeah, man, I know.

Outside my front window is a little wren who comes back every year (same wren?) to stake out his territory in the little green birdhouse my dad and I painted a decade or more ago. He arrives each year with a gentle, sweet melody to entice a mate to share his home and later advantages his quest by amplifying the echo of his call through our open window.

Our independent little wren knows the songs that I play on my computer almost as as well as I know his own. He sings along in knowing agreement from the cypress as Annie Humphrey and John Trudell trade verses on 'Spirit Horses'; twittering with absolute glee as if he's harmonizing with old friends.

Mothers, fathers and children
Creatures young and grown
Called by mighty drumming
Of sacred hooves on stone
The sound of spirit horses
Dancing on a storm
Mercy for the people
Old ways, new dreams reborn

The sun is disappearing and my catbird is making its last entreaties for a nest to share. Atop the hill, a girl catbird alone, calls to the sun as it began to dip its head below the trees - but my catbird is lost in singing along with my deliberately quieter music; matching every tone and adding his own practiced and amazing scale of unearthly notes.

It's dark now, and not even my catbird dares respond to the enticing music that plays on - irregardless of the hour and oblivious to any peril of nature- and seeps out undisturbed into the quiet woods as all of the songbirds try and settle down to sleep. What must they think of me as I carelessly ramble on throughout most of the night?

14 replies, 2233 views

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jun 7, 2014, 09:17 PM

1. Beautiful poem by Mary Oliver.. thank you, bigtree. Love your piece on the birds who

come to you each day. They're amazing! I had to look up catbird not having known what they look like..



Planet of Birds

Birds are the best.. We have doves who fly onto our balcony and practically live here.. their home away from home. I feel like I step out onto a bird sanctuary. We had a couple of mynahs yesterday..

Zebra Dove


Kauai Birds

And, of course. these little babies.. Brazillian Redcap Cardinals



Birds found on Kauai

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Response to Cha (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 7, 2014, 09:36 PM

2. that's him!

 

. . .thanks, Cha!

cool birds!

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Response to bigtree (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 7, 2014, 09:38 PM

3. They're saucy looking little things. :)

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Response to Cha (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 12:58 PM

6. beautiful birdies

 

. . . from a beautiful island home.

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Response to Cha (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 04:45 PM

11. There was a bird who lived in the old quarry between UH and my apartment who sounded like a bell

I never did find out what kind he was. Very distinctive call.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 06:17 PM

13. I found this, Hekate.. maybe?

"The bird's song is inconspicuous, containing whistling, warbling and trilling notes. The call is characteristic, however, being a clear, bell-like whistle, chee-clee-o or te-cleet. This is loudly communicated between birds advertising food during the morning and evening, and according to native informants, it is given most frequently during the day as rain approaches."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palila



Critically Endangered..

http://damontucker.com/2009/06/22/palila-honeycreeper-moved-from-endangered-to-critically-endangered-by-the-american-bird-conservancy/

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 02:00 AM

4.

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 09:26 AM

5. kick

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 01:17 PM

7. There was a very talented mockingbird who used to hang out at my place.

Back when the century was still fresh. He could do a car alarm. He came for many years, and used to sit on the light standard right outside my bedroom window. Loved that cat.

Then one year he never came. All things must pass.

-- Mal

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 04:25 PM

8. One of the few things I miss about living in L.A. are mockingbirds.

 

I even miss being buzzed by them when I strayed too close to their nests.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 04:43 PM

10. Mockingbirds are so brave, too! They'll take after a crow or a hawk, zip! zip! nt

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Response to Hekate (Reply #10)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 04:48 PM

12. Yep. Saw it many times. And, their constant war with Blue Jays.

 

Not to mention cats, dogs, and any other critter that got too close.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 04:42 PM

9. How lovely.....

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Tue Jun 10, 2014, 04:15 AM

14. I don't know what kind of birds these are or where they are but I just had to post them, bigtree..



Dudette @Dudette9t9
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@Kyuseok_Love: "@pep_vilamala: #birds pic.twitter.com/S7ra4Mm2aN"
1:13 PM - 9 Jun 2014

TOD

'Cause I love them.

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