I heard an unfamiliar song coming from the treetops. As I looked up, there sat an adult male Summer Tanager preforming one of his chatter calls. Not normally one that I see in my yard, he was an unexpected and welcome surprise.
“Keep a green tree in your heart and … perhaps a singing bird will come.” ~Chinese Proverb
Last year, a little wren built a nest in the eaves of my back patio to raise her young. This year, she decided to relocate to a patio table and tuck the nest between a bale of straw and two wicker flower baskets which are sitting against a wall.
One afternoon I was sitting out on a bench a short distance from the patio, unaware that she had relocated, when she decided that it would be a good time to work on the new nest. My presence, however, was intruding upon her plans.
Despite my proximity, she proceeded to bring pine needles, dried leaves and bits of moss to form her new home.
I have to say that I admired her courage and tenacity.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” ~Nelson Mandela
This week I saw a Blue Jay sunning on a log in my backyard. It fluffed its feathers, spread its wings, fanned its tail feathers and tilted its head to the side with its beak open, and soaked up the sun.
“Some old fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
In the spring, the sound of the male Red-winged blackbird echoes out across grassy fields and marshy areas as he noisily defends his territory, puffing up and proudly displaying his ornate red and yellow shoulder patches.
The song of the streaky-brown female can also be heard as she moves stealthily through tall grass in search of food and weaving material for her nest. Her dull color helps to provide camouflage as she sits in her nest, located close to the ground.
“In spring more mortal singers than belong To any one place cover us with song. Thrush, bluebird, blackbird, sparrow, and robin throng.” ~Robert Frost
I look forward each spring to visiting the Mississippi levee in hopes of a glimpse of this small bird. As you drive along, you can hear the calls of Dickcissels concealed in the dense, tall grass along the road. Occasionally, one will fly up and perch on a swaying stalk — guarding their territory, plucking seeds from the plant heads, and belting out a loud song.
Below is a short video of a Dickcissel’s song.
“Sing, then. Sing, indeed, with shoulders back, and head up so that song might go to the roof and beyond to the sky.” ~Richard Llewellyn