[Tweeters] Calls Of The "Fur Birds"

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Mon Oct 24 18:30:02 PDT 2016

Not a great expert at bird calls and songs, I am reasonably adept at sound ID- good enough to know when I'm hearing something I don't know, at least a lot of the time. Then I use old-school methods - like trying to find the source by snooping around. Sometimes it works. Not much on field playback, and all those apps and stuff. I do listen to recordings at home to later confirm my suspicions .

So I was thrilled to hear a loud strange bird just outside my back door in Port Townsend a few days ago."What's that!" I wondered. Now one of the diagnostic features of a bird is feathers. If the animal you're looking at has feathers, it's a bird. You can refer to the many good bird books out there for the exciting details. However, when I spotted the animal, it had fur. "Hey, you ain't no bird!" I exclaimed.

What it really was was an Eastern Grey Squirrel scolding me from a nearby Douglas Fir. In previous years I have posted about not hearing a single grey squirrel despite seeing thousands of the things over the years.Really! Then finally I did hear one or two in Everett, and thought with their mix of whistle like calls mixed with various wild chatters and other strange sounds, they really sounded birdlike, to me anyway. Fooled again.

Then last year I was down at the pier at the Marine Science Center here in PT when I heard a loud bird call down around the base of the pier. It was a sharp chirping - sounding like some kind of seabird I'd never heard before.A young woman standing nearby asked what I was looking for and I said I was trying to figure out that bird call. "Oh,

that's just an Otter", as if it was something that anybody with a brain in Port Townsend would know. So I learned something new that day, and now recognize that call when I hear it - another "fur bird".

My last note also comes from Fort Worden where I heard a Hairy Woodpecker in a very dense thicket of Bitter Cherries at North Beach. I was being very sneaky, slowly sticking my head into the thicket and holding very still. The bird was right there! But I just couldn't see it. Just about to give up I looked up about 8ft above me and spotted a motionless Townsends Chipmunk chirping at me - they can sound remarkably like a Hairy Woodpecker. With fur.

Jeff Gibson

Port Townsend Wa

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