Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Red Birds

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

Spring is sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where the birdies is
--Children's Rhyme

I know where a few of them are.  

I try to keep track, and remember (the big trick), locations where cardinals are announcing their presence to the world and to other cardinals. Poet Mary Oliver described this as a "musical battle." I record these in a notebook, including whether I saw them as well,  that when filled gets recycled. So much for data!

I have two or three walks/bicycle rides where I mostly know where they will be and over several years they haven't changed their housing pattern at all. I don't always succeed but I try to listen from a couple of vantage points and if I'm lucky from three to be sure I've got the location as close as I can.. 

I don't walk/bike these routes at the same time each day nor each day, so any "data" I have is anecdotal. And my afternoon trail is sometimes different. I don't carry my notebook with me. So much for science.

Some of the cardinal calls will persist throughout summer and into fall. Last year, I heard a cardinal on Christmas day but it was weeks later before I heard another. It was in a familiar spot. Latest or earliest ever for me.

Childhood was spent surrounded by farms, fields and distant woods as well as a wide "crick" a field or two away. I miss the dawn chorus although there is a semblance of one here--smaller chorale unit. The latter is not nearly as rich and is sometimes overwhelmed by the sound of a city awakening. It is a kind of getting up to the snarly. I'm glad the birds are so insistent or even still here but I wish their habitat was a bit more welcoming. One of the joys of this time of year is to hear the choir starting at around 5:30 am and earlier as spring and summer progress.

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