The Morning Song

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

At first golden light,

On a tree in the meadow,

A sparrow raises his head.

Strong and clear,

His voice fills the silence.

A meadowlark replies.

Back and forth they go,

First one and then the other,

Singing the morning song.

Since the end of February, I have been walking in the park next door at sunrise listening to the songbirds and watching for migrating ducks in the pond. The first birds to arrive were the red-wing blackbirds on the last weekend in February. Three of them sang and called from the tops of the cattails in the marsh. The next weekend, a lone western meadowlark sang as he flew from one end of the park to the other. By the middle of March, the American robins and the song sparrows were taking every opportunity to sing to the sunrise.

On several of the days, I jumped over the small creek behind the old cottonwood tree at the eastern edge of the park to walk by the trees where I saw the northern cardinal singing in February. On March 20th, I found a house finch singing there. On the same day, a song sparrow was singing a duet with a northern cardinal from a tree next to the cottonwood tree. The northern cardinal was high in the branches of the cottonwood tree. Robins were chasing one another behind the tree. I could hear the tapping of a downy woodpecker.

On March 28th, I heard a song sparrow singing as I entered the park at dawn. I followed the sound to a tree in the meadow. A robin joined the song sparrow on the tree and then the song sparrow flew away. The song sparrow returned to sing two more times before I left for the morning. Each time I heard him sing, the song was slightly different from the ones before.

In the middle of last week, I noticed a northern flicker in one of the small trees by the path on my way home. He flew from the tree to the grass when I walked up. I left my thoughts of breakfast behind and followed him. There was a flock of northern flickers in the grass. One of the northern flickers was so intent on his breakfast that he paid little attention to me.

On many of the mornings, mallard ducks were swimming in the pond and feeding in the shallow waters. In the first two weeks of March, I saw more than a dozen bufflehead ducks. In early April, a pair of blue-winged teal ducks visited on two days. This last weekend, I glimpsed four or five very shy pied-billed grebes.  The bufflehead ducks were migrating through the area. The blue-winged teal ducks and the pied-billed grebes spend the summer here. They are too shy to nest in a place as busy with dogs and people as the park next door.

The red-winged blackbirds, meadowlarks, northern flickers, mallard ducks, bufflehead ducks, blue-winged teal ducks, and pied-billed grebes will each have their own post in the coming months. Today, the song sparrows, the robins, and the house finch have center stage with a few of the other birds making an appearance.

Birdsong Audio Clips

March 20, 2016

A House Finch singing from a tree near the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree next to the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016. A Northern Cardinal was singing from high up in the cottonwood tree. A Red-winged Blackbird and a Downy Woodpecker can be heard in the background.

March 28, 2016

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016 (1). A Northern Cardinal was singing in the background at the beginning. An American Robin landed on the tree and called at the end.

An American Robin singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016. A Western Meadowlark, a Song Sparrow, a Red-winged Blackbird, and a Northern Cardinal were singing in the background. The chirps were from an American Tree Sparrow perched higher up in the tree.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016 (2). A Western Meadowlark and a Northern Cardinal were singing in the background.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016 (3). A Northern Cardinal, a Western Meadowlark, and an Eastern Meadowlark were singing in the background.

Photographs and Videos

March 20, 2016

A House Finch in a tree near the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016.

A House Finch in a tree near the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016.

A House Finch singing from a tree near the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree next to the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree next to the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016.

A Song Sparrow in a tree next to the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016.

A Song Sparrow in a tree next to the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree next to the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 20, 2016. A Northern Cardinal was singing from high up in the cottonwood tree. A Red-winged Blackbird and Downy Woodpecker can be heard in the background.

March 26, 2016

An American Robin in a tree near the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 26, 2016.

An American Robin in a tree near the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 26, 2016.

An American Robin in a tree near the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 26, 2016.

An American Robin in a tree near the old cottonwood tree at sunrise, March 26, 2016.

March 28, 2016

An American Robin on a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

An American Robin on a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

An American Robin singing from a tree in the meadow, March 28, 2016.

An American Robin singing from a tree in the meadow, March 28, 2016.

An American Robin singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016. A Western Meadowlark, a Song Sparrow, a Red-winged Blackbird, and a Northern Cardinal were singing in the background. The chirps were from an American Tree Sparrow perched higher up in the tree.

An American Tree Sparrow on a tree in the meadow, March 28, 2016.

An American Tree Sparrow on a tree in the meadow, March 28, 2016. This was the last time I saw an American Tree Sparrow in the park.

A Song Sparrow on a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

A Song Sparrow on a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

A Song Sparrow on a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

A Song Sparrow on a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016.

A Song Sparrow singing from a tree in the meadow at sunrise, March 28, 2016. A Western Meadowlark and a Northern Cardinal were singing in the background.

April 4, 2016

An Eastern Meadowlark in the meadow, April 4, 2016.

An Eastern Meadowlark in the meadow, April 4, 2016.

A pair of Mallard ducks in the shallow end of the pond, April 4, 2016.

A pair of Mallard ducks in the shallow end of the pond, April 4, 2016.

A Western Meadowlark resting on a post in the meadow, April 4, 2016.

A Western Meadowlark resting on a post in the meadow, April 4, 2016.

An American Robin in the grass on the hill, April 4, 2016.

An American Robin in the grass on the hill, April 4, 2016.

An American Robin in the grass on the hill, April 4, 2016.

An American Robin in the grass on the hill, April 4, 2016.

An American Robin in the grass on the hill, April 4, 2016.

An American Robin in the grass on the hill, April 4, 2016.

An American Robin in the grass on the hill, April 4, 2016.

An American Robin in the grass on the hill, April 4, 2016.

April 6, 2016

A Northern Flicker digging for food in the grass by the marsh, April 6, 2016.

A Northern Flicker digging for food in the grass by the marsh, April 6, 2016.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

 

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and runner
This entry was posted in Nature and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Morning Song

  1. zirah1 says:

    Boy, it must have been cold during some of those shots. The robin and sparrow are especially “all puffed up.” Look like balls of feathers w/ stick legs stuck to them .:-)

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah 🙂
      Thanks for visiting! It was pretty chilly many of the mornings. We had some early warm weather and then a cold spell. The birds can look twice their size when they are all puffed up. 🙂 The little song sparrows and their cousins, the American tree sparrows, have a special place in my heart. I see them in the winter when it is mostly quiet flying and twittering about like the cold is nothing to fret about. 🙂

      • zirah1 says:

        Yes, we had a warm spell and then an extreme cold spell just within the last few days. Last Friday there was even a forecast of evening flurries, although nothing materialized. I am amazed at how well the birds do, regardless of the frigid temperatures, especially since most species don’t have any feathers on their legs. Makes me want to knit them some leggings and/or booties. 🙂 I love the little chickadees when they are all puffed up because they’re already pretty round to begin w/. HA!

        • Sarah says:

          The chickadees are fun little birds to watch. 🙂 I hear them in the trees and sometimes see them flash by. On the same day that I saw the robin singing in the tree in the park, there was a flock of at least 6 chickadees in the trees by my apartment when I came home. They were like a mini tornado whipping along the tree line chirping and chasing one another. It was very amusing especially after having just watched the relatively mellow robin. 🙂 I don’t know how they keep their feet warm. I do see the birds standing on one foot sometimes with the other foot tucked up into their feathers. It has been cold enough to snow a number of times over the last few weeks, but there was only a few flurries. I hope your flowers survived the cold snap.

          • zirah1 says:

            HA! Yes, they are rather rambunctious little birds, but so cute. And I’ve seen birds sometimes get all puffed up and then sort of “sit down” so that their legs and feet are more or less covered/incorporated into their puffiness. Probably feels like putting a down comforter over their legs and feet. 🙂

            • Sarah says:

              Literally, like down comforter. 🙂 You have painted a funny picture in my mind of a bird sitting on a tree wrapped in a blanket with knitted booties on his feet. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    I like the pictures of the ducks. That Robin in the first picture looks like he might need to go on a diet. 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂
      Thanks for visiting! I am happy you like the photo of the mallard ducks. 🙂 I have a collection of fun mallard duck photos from the morning visits that will be in a post relatively soon. I think they are fun to watch.
      It is interesting how the birds can look very large when they puff out their feathers. 🙂 Shortly after those photos were taken, she flew down to the grass and hopped around looking for food with her mate. She didn’t look as puffed up then. It has been pretty cold and windy in the mornings this last month. A few of the days, the birds were singing from the ground because they couldn’t keep a grip on the tree branches.

    • zirah1 says:

      Ah ha ha, that was my thought, too.

  3. That has made my early morning here in UK. The birds though are busy outside the back! In Spain I need to identify more by birdsong. I like your audio and videos but I might need a new camera for stability . It seems the latest are so much better. It’s my friend Ruth’s photos that are sharp and zoomed in. When I do get a shot my older camera is definitely less sharp.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂 I am happy you enjoyed the birds and their songs! I love birdsong. I am very happy it is now spring again and I have an orchestra of birds outside of my window composing a new piece of music in the morning and throughout the day. Most of the time I recognize the tune of the players. 🙂

      You have reminded me of something that happened a couple of weeks ago. I was at a park about a day’s drive away. I went there to see the bluebells that bloom in the woods in the middle of April. I was there on a Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, I heard a couple of birds I didn’t recognize. The trees in the park are old and tall. I was standing by the path looking up at the branches trying to figure out where the singing was coming from. A family of a mother, a daughter, and a son were walking toward me. The son asked…. “What are you doing?” 🙂 I explained that I was listening to the birds. They heard the birds as well and the mom asked if I knew which ones they were. I said I didn’t and was hoping to take a photo of one of them so I could look them up. The mystery remains. 🙂 The birds flew off and the song faded. I wish I had recorded the song at least so I could listen to it again. It was a pretty tune. I have been meaning to listen to birdsong recording to see if I can figure out the name of the bird.

      • There may be an app when if you can record the bird and then identify later but it may remain a mystery. The nightingales are singing near my friend Ruth in Spain. If she hadn’t of told me I wouldn’t have known!

        • Sarah says:

          I haven’t heard a nightingale sing. I will have to go find a recording. I wish I had recorded the song with my phone or the camera. I haven’t heard that birdsong tune here and the park where I was then is enough of a distance away that I don’t know if I will be back again. I was there for two days and walked in the woods four times morning and late afternoon both days. There was so much to see with wildflowers, woods, and more formal gardens that my head was full of sights and not thinking clearly. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s