Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Springtime Symphony

One of the more noticeable changes from wintertime comes in the early morning hours. In the dead of winter, that's a very quiet time. By late March, the predawn hours are awash in sounds. Bird sounds. The Robins are typically first in line, singing ahead even of twilight. By breakfast time I can hear many others. Northern Cardinals, Song Sparrows, Carolina Wrens, and these fellows (Tufted Titmice) are particularly noticeable. I'm endlessly fascinated how
we humans translate these essentially Tarzan-like territorial barks into a musical treat. Were we to do the same in our particular idiom the police would be swiftly summoned to the door! For some reason Mother Nature has wired our brains to take delight from birdsong. My own theory is that it's a dinner bell. As hunter gatherers we surely "enjoyed" knowing who's advertising themselves as tasty meals. We "like" birds, ruminants, and so on, all potential meals, and "don't like" (or are spooked by) the sounds of competitors and predators: dogs (i.e. wolves), monkeys, etc. Fortunately, I can still enjoy a Titmouse territory song without contemplating a grilled Titmouse sandwich for lunch. And so my wake up time is a veritable delight. The birds may be warning off rivals or charming mates, but for me it's the sweetest of classical music.

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