Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Bird Talk in the Neighborhood
Last week we awoke too early to the raucous caws of a large number of crows. They were perched in our large elm tree. When my husband did yard work later in the day, he discovered what could have been the reason for their loud conversations: a dead crow in the backyard.
Lita Judge's new book Bird Talk: What Birds are Saying and Why (http://www.litajudge.com/BirdTalk.html) is perfect for helping readers understand what some bird calls, sounds, and songs might mean. Many of the species frequent my backyard each day. An American Goldfinch pair ate together this morning. An American Robin often visits our yard; it has unusual white spots on its head and neck that help me know it is the same bird. Wild turkeys sometimes strut through the neighborhood; they are skittish and appear to be quite proud. A North American Killdeer mama used to nest in the park behind our neighbor's house, and she did exactly what Lita indicated to protect her eggs. She made a screaming sound and faked an injury to distract us.
Whether it is to call their young, attract a mate, signal a feeding site, or stake out territory, bird sounds and songs provide insights into their intricate communication networks. An excellent glossary provides more details about the birds mentioned in the book.
This afternoon the feeders have been void of visitors. I think the absence of birds might mean they are trying to stay out of the heat on this intensely hot day!