Lately I hear a lot of hummingbirds buzzing around in their territorial and blustery wars, emitting soft chirps and squeeks when they manage to feed.
Also quite noisy are the small finches; Pine Siskins, House Finch, American and Lesser Goldfinches and of course House Sparrows whose numbers in my yard seem to have exploded. This light, back-ground noise is really quite sweet.
I am not impressed with the guttural growling of the ubiquitous Eurasian Collared-dove and much prefer the soft cooing of our native Mourning Doves, which, when I hear them, I go to the window (slowly) to watch them. They’re a lot smaller than the interlopers, and don’t come here as often as they once did. They’re nearly the same length, but ‘our’ doves are much more svelte and weigh only half as much. And they sound like doves rather than a broken chain-saw.
The past few weeks, I’ve heard a bird that took me nearly a month to discover last year. The Western Wood-Pewee’s sound is a plaintive ‘peeeer’, which it calls incessantly. I’ve watched the little flycatcher on a naked branch overlooking the street or my yard. From this vantage point, it sallies out and catches various bugs that are unfortunate enough to fly by. This ‘hawking’ behavior is common with flycatchers; it’s how they hunt. When I first heard this bird last July, it took awhile to get a photograph of it; but it was the Arizona Field Ornithologists Sound Library that helped me identify the bird. Each flycatcher seems to have a distinctive call, I knew I had a Western Wood-Pewee by listening to their recording of the bird.
The other bird that caught my ear, so to speak, was one that I generally see earlier in the year. I’ve not heard its sweet ‘peep’ for some months, but when I heard the bird from another room, I had to make a bee-line to the window. And there they were; Evening Grosbeaks! You can get a hint of what they sound like at the same sound library here, but I’ve also included a little video clip I found on YouTube:
I’ve learned to know when I have Bullock’s Orioles at my feeders in two ways. One is the gentle ‘thump’ I hear when it lands on the hummingbird feeder outside my window. I’ve drilled out the holes in the feeder to accommodate these bigger guys…and they love it. The other sound I hear and know one is in the yard is the scolding chatter one gives when someone else is using the feeder. You can hear that sound here. The first time I heard it, I nearly thought it was a Flicker!Perhaps one of the prettiest sounds I hear is from the Black-headed Grosbeak. This big-nosed bird sounds every bit as lovely as a robin! Listen…