SONGS OF NATURE
In Grateful Praise of Mayâ€™s Avian Concerto
Hmmm, if I could but touch the unseen hand, so much greater than I, that conducts the joyful symphony of migrating song birds.
Got a spare hour or two today? Take a stroll in a burgeoning woodland or a grassy meadow and tune your ears to the avian concerto. Migrating song birds vocalize with reckless abandon at this time of year as they surge northward in colourful waves.
It always amazes me how their diverse songs and calls blend together effortlessly. From the break of dawn through the early evening hours, the symphony plays on and on with endless variations and rotating arias.
I couldnâ€™t begin to describe them all but a few jump to mind.
The Thrush family are among the most gifted singers. Their ethereal and flute-like songs waft through the woodland like wandering spiritsâ€¦ the breezy, phrases of the Swainsonâ€™s Thrush spiralling upwardâ€¦ the liquid, ghostlike vee-ur vee-ur of the Veery wheeling downwardâ€¦ the rounded ee-o-lay of the Wood Thrush from deep within the woods.
By contrast, the Baltimore Oriole is the Pied Piper of the woodlands with its rich, emphatic piping and whistled notes that make it impossible not to turn your head and seek out the flash of vibrant orange and black.
Rarely does an hour pass when the strident wick wick wick wick of the Northern Flicker does not echo through the forest. The hurried and accelerating kik-kik-kikkikikk of the Pileated Woodpecker is less seldom heard, but all the more welcomed for the treasured sighting of the crow-sized Pileated with its flaming red crest.
There is no more tireless singer than the Warbling Vireo whose languid back-and-forth warble is a constant companion throughout the day. But a close second is the abrupt here I am, where are you phrases of the Red-eyed Vireo that repeat as many as 40 times per minute.
I love the tiny and brightly coloured warblers for their often brilliant splashes of yellows and oranges with jaunty highlights of black, brown and muted blues. But their vocal repertoire is equal to their appearance.
The ringing tsee tsee tsee tsee-o of the Redstart insists that I turn and look even though I have already seen a half dozen of them.
The buzzy trill of the Northern Parula â€“ zeeeeeeee-up â€“ rising up the scale and falling over the top, is unmistakable and almost always emanating from high overhead.
Black-throated Green Warblers flit and dance through the conifers with their dreamy, lisping zee zee zee zoo zee announcing their presence.
And I canâ€™t forget the high, single pitch zi-zi-zi-zi-zi-zi-zi-zi of the Blackpoll Warbler gaining strength and then diminishing to the conductorâ€™s command. How such a tiny bird summons such a piercing call is a mystery I will never comprehend.
The May avian concerto is unrivalled as a metaphor for new beginnings, second chances and the indomitable will of nature to carry on as the song birds traverse thousands of miles in response to the call of Mother Nature. It renews me every spring and for that I am profoundly grateful.
~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of â€œUntil the Deep Water Stills â€“ An Internet-enhanced Novelâ€ â€“ double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michaelâ€™s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.
~ Follow Michaelâ€™s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm regularly at this site. Categories: Shifting Winds, Sudden Light, Deep Dive, Songs of Nature, Random Acts of Metaphor. Originating at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2.
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