Date: 5/12/20 5:28 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] May 12, 2020: Thetford Center
5:14 a.m. 34 degrees. Wind WNW 4 mph. Half-moon in the east dimming by the
moment. Air washed clean by yesterday's rain. A painterly sky: lots of
shades of blues and whites; delicate tints of magenta suffuse thin clouds
in the west; thin clouds in the east . . . luminous. Mist rising off the
pond going nowhere. Puddled road hosts wandering slugs. Intermittent
streams murmur, again. Permanent streams shout and tumble. Robins
preoccupied incubating or noshing ground beetles, mum.

An unseen flock of geese passes by; an outpouring of honks. Red-eyed vireo,
fresh from the Amazon basin, doggedly sings in the maples (FOY). Considered
the most abundant songbird in the northern hardwood forest, red-eyed vireos
defend small territories and *must *sing almost constantly to maintain
boundaries. In the early 1950s, a biologist far more
mathematically inclined than I estimated that male red-eyes may sing more
than 20,000 songs a day, a persistence bordering on pathological (both the
bird and the man). The equivalent of woodland elevator music, red-eyed
vireos sing throughout the summer, long after other neotropical migrants
have toned it down (or left). Let the monotony begin.

White-throated sparrows poignantly announce their presence, their unalloyed
five-note whistle arguably one of Vermont's most idiosyncratic bird songs,
certainly one of the easiest to mimic. The sweet spot of the morning: rises
out of the front yard; the raspberry patch; the bramble-filled clear cut;
the edge of the road; the brushy border along the far side of the pond; the
spruce-hemmed wetland, well beyond my sightline. I whistle back, bilingual
in a world of deliciously chaotic sound, moved by the sparrow or reasons I
cannot fathom.
 
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