I can hear birds outside, as the sun rises. Far from being silent, spring is noisy joyful chaos. This is country, although crowded for my tastes – but it is country, by the lights of the surrounding farm fields and forest that looms up behind the house. There are deer that walk by the fences and feed in the field, returning to the forested hills for refuge in the day. There are smaller animals scurrying in the darkness, rarely glimpsed but by the debris they leave behind them. And there are birds, creating a lusty racket in the dawn. 

Living here, on the brink of forest and field, we have all sorts of birds. I’m listening to one out in the field now, calling with high piping notes that warble into a trill, ‘too-whee!woo-whee!’. The little brown wren with his tipped-up tail comes to sit on the screen door later in the day, emitting full-throated songs that are surprisingly loud for such a tiny ball of feathers. He looks at me suspiciously when I appear with the camera, and takes his suit elsewhere. 

The crows patrol the road, looking for the unfortunates who didn’t make it to the other side, or for discarded bits that humans leave them. The hawks circle overhead, watching for the unwary. I watch them all and read the story they tell, of life, love, and the ultimate end once the hawk stoops. It’s no different than the story told in town, but with different actors. Nature abhors a vacuum, they say, and so the story is told over and over. Where there is sustenance, there is life. Where there is life, there is the lovemaking of birdsong, and tufts of soft scraps to create a home. Then there is warmth, and nestlings, and the story is renewed with the turnings of the seasons.

It’s a story with no end, only corners to turn ’round. Even in winter the story doesn’t end, only it’s quieter for a time. The story isn’t sung aloud, then, it’s written in tiny tracks in the snow, seed husks dropped below the brown stalks, and the fearsome feathertip print with a tiny splash of blood centered in the marks.

The end, for one.

The continuation, for another.


2 responses to “Birdsong”

  1. John in Philly Avatar
    John in Philly

    Yesterday I was watching three hawks use their antigravity to float through the air. Just amazing. And in Philly!

    1. They will find a place, even in the deepest city environments. This is why I tend to raise an eyebrow at the enviro-types who want us to believe we’re forcing animals out. They do adapt, and often very well indeed (I’m looking at you, raccoons).