Friday, March 21, 2014

What Do The Birds Say?

Ignore the piles of snow alongside your driveway. Forget about still needing to wear that white wool headband that leaves you looking like the drummer boy returning home from the Civil War. The calendar tells us it's spring! And so do the birds outside my window.

I love the sound of bird songs. I am dorky enough to have this CD in my kitchen going at all times. It makes me happy. Happy, as long as I stay ignorant and just keep on telling myself, they're only bird sounds. They don't serve the purpose of communication, of course not.

120 minutes of bird calls! You wouldn't expect him to be creepy, would you?
This means, just as with WebMD, don't google, "What do birds sing." If you do, then you'll find out why birds sing. It's not to sound pretty, how's that. And if you think you're as smart as a fifth grader and our feathered friends are only setting their lives to a backdrop of trills and whistles merely as the obvious mating calls and to claim territories, you would be wrong. That’s a whole lot of effort and repertoire for “be mine” and “it’s mine.”

Life is complicated, and bird life no less entangled. Predator warnings are needed, information regarding food locations must be sung out, much like hobo markings on a fence in front of a house. “Hey, yo! Over here. And it’s a squirrel-free feeder too!” Maybe they're whistling out, “Hey, it was fun, let’s keep in touch” or “Let’s V-fly formation again soon!”

Mating calls are necessary, but even with their pebble sized brains, birds go beyond “Me want you.” Just like human life, there are whackadoo birds out there, too. Their eyes alight on a particularly dainty yellow finch, they begin screeching out right outside your kitchen window, “I won’t give up. You will be mine! Have you seen the extra food I gots here?” ::deep breath:: “You want THIS.”

Think about how we’re all more alike than not on this planet, makes me kinda glad we don’t know what birds are saying because mating season, y’all. I’m sure there are some calls that if we had a bird-o-translatron what we’d hear would be creepy. Down right inappropriate. Like really gross stuff. “Hey. I got surprises in my nest.” “Who's ready for the world’s biggest worm?”

And what about the bird that we see, all by himself? On that branch right outside your first floor window? No one else around for miles or for hours, yet, that bird keeps on chirping. To himself. Birds are not solitary creatures so is this guy a self-talker like on Seinfeld? I mean, I talk to myself every once in a while. But for hours on end? Outside? For the world to see? Just too sad.

If you've gone and taken your kids with a bag of bread to a pond to feed ducks, you’ll know the quack quack quack sound as you toss slice after slice at them. Is it as simply translated as, “bread bread bread BREAD bread bread.” No... it's all mine, go away, all for me.

In Wisconsin, wild turkeys strut and gobble around all year. They’re unsightly. They are as close to walking scrotums as ever designed. BUT, even more so, turkeys are the annoying people of the world. Gobble gobble gobble gobble. Google “turkey sounds” on youtube and you’ll be screaming ENOUGH after the first 17 seconds into any video.

Bird translations. I know all I have to know. I prefer to just enjoy and imagine they are sweetly innocent and so unlike us. I really don’t want to hear a Robin Red Breast boasting, “Look! Ladies! Shiny things in my nest! Blue ribbons! Some broken candy pieces! Twigs! Look at this place I got here! And let me tell YOU -- Plenty o’room. I do mean plenty cuz you’ll need it for the 80 eggs you’re gonna lay after spending some time with me. *wink wink*”

On second thought, wipe your mind clean of this post. Forget you ever read it. Continue on enjoying our sweet bird callers. Don’t imagine it as arguing, inappropriate pick up lines, shouting to each other to keep away from their tree branch.

I'm sorry if I just ruined spring for all of you. Now, the next time you’re at a park on a beautiful spring day, you’ll hear a bird sing and it won't sound like anything else but, “Hey! I’m talking to you! Big Papa, that's who! That's who and whose army!"

Maybe birds are all crazy like us. Crazy and screaming. Two fold screeching and scaring away while also calling forth. “Stay away. Be mine,” they call out. Just like the rest of us losing our minds because spring. Finally.

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Other Places You Can Find Me This Week:


  1. You know what I'll think about the next time I hear the birds? YOU! LOL... you crazy nut!

  2. tweet tweet tweet tweet
    tweet tweet tweet (to the what the fox says tune)

    ha. the bird whisperer...
    you might impress some people with that...
    ha. its nice and warm here but then its supposed to snow
    tuesday so all the flowers that popped out yesterday

  3. Just starting to hear the birds again out here...sign of spring. Yay!
    You are hilarious, by the way! I don't know that I'll ever "hear" birds the same now...

  4. It's kind of a good thing to not know stuff. Let's just pretend it's a beautiful spring orchestra going on in our trees. xo

  5. I've always liked thinking about what the birds are communicating. I sometimes picture a bird on a branch leering a little as it eyes a female bird and saying, "Hey, baby!"

  6. I see squirrel poop, I don't know when it happened, but now, whenever we are outside I scan like Lindsey Wagner as the Bionic Woman and I find all the bits of squirrel poop. I miss not seeing it. I imagine it's a bit like the bird revelation.


    [feebly waves flag-yay spring]

  7. Creepy....thanks, Alexandra ;)

    Just came to this post after reading the one on tips for sending out your writing. I needed that, because I should be trying to get published at more than just one other site!

    Congrats on your work being all over the web this week! I love your Huffington post on raising young boys, and I hope many, many parents read it. It's a message this generation of parents needs to hear. We shouldn't just be passive about what the media shoves in our kids' faces.

    1. Thank you, Hillary, and it's so good to see you.

  8. I love this post. Also I'll now have Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" on repeat in my head. I can live with this.

    I had no idea that bird calls were so intricate. And also I'll refrain from Googling. I'd prefer to think that they are just innocently scoping out new territories and sharing secrets from the nest.

    1. They're all mad with mating, Charlotte.

  9. Best description of turkeys ever! They strut all around our office. Now I won't get that image and description out of my head. xoxo

  10. This made me laugh! I prefer to think of birds as trilling for my enjoyment, not trolling for chicks.

    Heh. I didn't even mean to do that.



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