Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Early sounds

It's still chilly, but I sleep with the bedroom window open just enough to let in the morning sounds. It's early in the season still, so that every birdsong feels like a luxury. I'm a heavy sleeper, but the robins and cardinals rouse me from the warm covers in a much better mood than the blaring alarm clock does.

I think the robins are the first to begin with tentative calls before the sun has brought very much light to the morning. Then it's the cardinals and the sparrows who call. As the light increases and the birds are encouraged by one another, calls turn to song. This morning I heard a white-throated sparrow singing his "Old Sam Peabody" and smiled to myself as I enjoyed a last few moments of slumber.

The rest of the morning routine is done in haste. I might spend a few minutes standing by the kitchen window with a cup of coffee watching the birds at the feeder, but by that time the house sparrows and starlings are up as well and any singing from the more talented birds is drowned out by their arguing over a perch at the free food buffet.

New birds and new songs will add themselves to the dawn celebration in the coming weeks; to the point that it becomes difficult to distinguish any one voice from the chorus of birds echoing one another in the gala that is spring. Maybe there's one in particular that you listen for to know that the season has finally arrived, or maybe you enjoy the effect of so many voices singing the same song of delight but to a different tune. I could tell you what I think, but I'd rather know what you like to hear outside your window that says Spring.



Larry said...

Hearing the male cardinal and American Robins make me think of spring.

The one that I really look forward to hearing is the first Prairie Warbler with its ascending song.I don't hear that out the window though. I have to find the Prairie Warblers.

I was just thinking about the order of songs the other day.

I want to head out to the woods in the morning, while it's still dark. Then, I can listen to see what the order of songs would be.

I'll probably give that a try some time this spring.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

For me, it's often the absence of morning sounds that says, "spring-time".

Let me explain; my chickadee feeder hangs just outside my bedroom window. In winter it is sometimes the major source of food for quite a few chickadees (and one enterprising junco). They empty it quickly, though; every couple of days I am wakened by a persistent "tap-tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap", as they bang on the side of the offending feeder, now serving as a drum. (They do this only when the feeder is empty.)

I interpret it as a signal to get a move on and re-fill that feeder. Which they seem to know, because once I'm up, they stop.

This happens only in winter; in spring, there is ample food elsewhere, so they don't need me.

(I notice the bird songs more in the early evening; the contented chirpings and "cheer-ups" associated with their bedtime snacks and bedding down with the nestlings.)

Mary said...

Being the novice I am, the bird sounds have changed since winter turned to spring. At 5:30 a.m. I hear few birds waking. By 7:00 a.m. I arrive on campus and hear loads of birdsong but above all, I hear the starlings competing for the highest spot on a tree. Mockers woke us early last weekend. Cardinals are raising their voices. It's all interesting to me! There's always a chorus, especially in the morning hours.

Good question, Laura. Made me think.

Jessie said...

i love getting a peek out your window. it looks like such a fresh spring day. and i love your observations. me thinks you were born with a bird heart. ;)

Laurie said...

I'm enjoying a Colorado spring for the first time. It's been very warm so I'm able to sleep with the windows open for the most part. I've noticed that the sounds of spring are different here in the more southern climes than they are up north where I usually ring in spring. I can't begin to tell you what birds I'm hearing in the morning, but I can say they sound quite a bit different than what I'm used to hearing.

DK & The Fluffies said...

Hey, I was Birdchick II today!

Liza Lee Miller said...

Laugh. Often the first birds I hear in the Spring and Summer are the Steller's Jays . . . I love them but they are hardly a gentle wake up call. The other one that I hear a lot is the California Towhee. They give a single piercing note repeatedly. I love them too but again not exactly a gentle songbird awakening! :) Still it's better than the schmalzy radio station I have on my alarm because it's less risky than the rock station which could decide to play ACDC at 6am! Although maybe that's better than the Barry Manilow they woke me up to today. Sigh. Yea, better crack the window and let the bird songs in!

Body Soul Spirit said...

I hear a white throated sparrow too, but I cannot see it, hard as I look!
It was silent this morning as we had thunder storms in the night and cold weather and snow is on the way.

LauraHinNJ said...

Larry: Oh Prairie Warblers - I get them mixed up with Palm Warblers - at least when it comes to remembering their songs. I'll have to go check my book because now I'm wondering!

Wanderin' Weeta: I wouldn't ever think to identify silence with spring - interesting perspective. I love to hear the robins at dusk also, cheering up the neighborhood.

Mary: Cool that you notice the change anyway.

Jessie: And a bunny heart, too.


Laurie: There's a whole other group of songs to learn out there!

Diva Kitty: Yea - thanks for the heads up.

Liza: I can only compare the blue jays - do the stellar's have a sort of sweet ringing song that they only use in spring?

Ruth: The white throats are good at hiding in the underbrush - but at least they sing to let us know they're out there.

Jayne said...

Lately I am hearing Eastern Meadowlarks. I have not seen them yet, but I can hear their distinct song announcing it's spring.

Cathy said...

Laura - This is so lovely - your writing. We're having a not-so-good morning and your post about birdsong lifted my spirits. Oh you are blessed! You're hearing a White-throated sparrow. Yes. yes. I hear it too. Thank you.

NatureWoman said...

Baltimore Oriels definitely for me. I look for them here right around the end of May.

robin andrea said...

It seems that several species show up at once. I think the white-crowned sparrow sings the earliest right now. We're supposed to have them year-round, but it's awfully quiet all winter long, until they suddenly show up in March. My favorite song, though, is the Swainson's Thrush any time of the day.

Carolyn H said...

To me, spring bird song is like a choir, and it seems like every day a new voice is added. Yesterday it was the towhee's voice of spring. But I still can't say spring has "arrived" because the wood thrush and ovenbirds aren't here yet (or the pe-wees).

Nice post!
Carolyn H.

dguzman said...

to me it's the robin songs and the spring peepers that signal spring for me. then the grackles move into the yew tree outside my window, and I know it's late spring/early summer when I can hear their hatchlings' hungry little cries.

Jinbon H Wrong aka Sloop John B said...

I'm in New Jersey too and when we had that last big snowfall (more like icy snow) I came home early and my street was full of robins.

This was something I had never seen before - it must have been a migrating flock and they were just walking and hopping all over the street, occasionally flying up into a tree and so forth. It was pretty amazing. I really like the way they jumped around.

Dr. Know said...

I'm generally up way before the birds, and just as the sky begins to lighten, a veritable chorus of birds meets the ears. My favorite is probably the variety of songs proffered by the Carolina Wren. If I leave a door or window open, one of these silly Wrens comes in to investigate. They have an insatiable curiosity of openings of any size, and of human activities.

I hate crows, however. The gluttony of overdevelopment has destroyed the habitat of many species, and these vultures show up to feed from the fleeing wildlife. They are noisy, destructive, and better birds either flee or scream warning calls when they arrive en masse.

Finally, the garden arbor I built last year has more than Jasmine living on it:
Robin Nest

We're gonna have a baby. LOL

Floridacracker said...

There's birdsong here year round so I suppose the silence of a swallowtail kite soaring overhead and the buzz of a hummer are my spring sounds.

LauraO said...

Chickadees, cardinals, redwings, usually turkeys clucking. Phoebes on the shed out back, and bluebirds a little later. Woodpecker drumming, Canadian geese on the pond. Red-shouldered hawk shrieking across the road. Red and gray squirrels chasing each other, and Boomer snoring. Of course, this changes daily....

Dave said...

When the wood thrushes start singing, that's a real culmination of sorts - almost an apotheosis (he says pompously).

burning silo said...

The peent of Woodcock in the evening signals spring to me. Cardinals in the morning. White-throated sparrows back in the forest -- and yes, when the wood thrushes begin to sing, springtime has returned to the forest.

LauraHinNJ said...

Jayne: I've got meadowlarks on my mind, too. I only ever get a good look at them in winter, somehow, but love to hear there song where I least expect it.

Cathy: I think I read today that the mornings will be better. Enjoy the birdsongs in the meantime.

Naturewoman: Yea - their's is a beautiful song. I have such a hard time spotting them here - you'd think that orange would really stand out, but it doesn't!

Robin Andrea: I don't know the song of a Swainson's well enough at all and white crowns show up here in my yard for just a day or two, usally when the dogwoods are blooming - such gorgeous birds! I think you're lucky to have them sing for you about spring.

Carolyn: Yes! I love so many voices all at once, but have to go somewhere to hear it. I think ovenbirds are *my* spring bird - wish I could hear them in my neighborhood. One spring I had a wood thrush for a day or two and it was such a treat to hear it in the evening out by the pond!

Delia: Grackles! I thought for sure you would say Red-wings!

jinbon: Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I noticed the same type of thing with the robins during the latest snowfall - mostly they seemed to be attracted to the water melted by the side of the road - dangerous!

Dr. Know: I forget about the wrens! They are early risers, too. I've had a few find their way into my house also - very curious little birds.

That egg is just gorgeous - thanks for sharing the photo. THAT says spring!

FC: Your spring sound like summer to me! Are kites regular by you?

Laura: Your spring must be very noisy! Wish I could count turkeys among the familiars.

Dave: We can't all have woodthrushes in our backyard. Glad you do, though.

Bev: How long is it before you have Woodcock?