[Tweeters] From the Fill

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Tue Apr 8 03:27:30 PDT 2014

Hey tweets, yesterday finally felt like spring, didnt’ it? The birds certainly seemed to think so - everybody was singing, to the point where the Fill sounded like a home game at the Seahawks stadium, only more musical.

Science now tells us that birds apparently pay attention to each other’s songs and chime in at appropriate times, tones, and rhythms. They’re not *trying* to create a symphony - they’re simply trying to be heard above the racket - but the effect for us humans is quite symphonic. And like any good orchestra when it’s playing its best, you can choose to listen to the overall music or you can have fun picking out the soloists.

The most welcome soloist yesterday was a FOY male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, who was singing in Kern’s Restoration Pond in a duet with a resident Bewick’s Wren, accompanied by the occasional cymbal-clash of an Anna’s Hummingbird, who was trying to attract the attention of an audience member seated in the bushes of the front row. I never did see her - I was seated too far back in the balcony, I guess. Two Pied-billed Grebes in Southwest Pond added to the mix with their weird combination of chuckles and hoots - I couldn’t decide whether they made a better a pair of musicians or raucous members of the audience.

In the sky above, a FOY OSPREY floated like a weightless cloud, until it spotted a fish in the lake and plunged down, followed by a most hopeful Glaucous-winged Gull. Unluckily for the gull, the Osprey came up empty, shook its feathers, and floated off to the east.

Meanwhile, another hopeful diner, a Black-capped Chickadee, spotted a FOY butterfly (sorry, don’t know what kind) and decided it looked good enough to eat. The chickadee launched from a branch and made a dive for the butterfly, who started to flit in complicated twists and turns which the chickadee did its best to follow. There was a rather frantic ado during which the chickadee looked like it had roughly a thousand wings and legs, and then the butterfly flitted off, unharmed. The chickadee returned to its branch to think things over. I couldn’t blame the bird for wanting to process the experience - I sat there as well, trying to decide if the butterfly had ever known it was being chased and had deliberately evaded its would-be predator. Are butterflies that smart? And if they are, what else might they think about?

Here is a poem for you today:

In the silver morning light

a Pied-billed Grebe dances across the lagoon

toward his mate,

etching an ephemeral trail

in the molten water.

- Connie, Seattle
constancesidles at gmail.com

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