I have reclaimed my deck, at last. Spring is my busy season. Since mid-May, I have guided for three birding festivals, a Road Scholars program, two five-day tours and a couple of Maine Audubon events. I have a good sense of what birds are doing everywhere in Maine except in my own backyard.
Today is different. I am sitting and listening. It’s good to be home.
At this moment, I don’t see any actual birds. But above my roof, a northern parula sings. Likewise, a pine warbler is singing next door. From the lake, a loon yodels and an osprey calls. The flycatchers have been noisy all morning. An eastern wood-pewee has been trading calls with a great-crested flycatcher. Eastern phoebes are nesting under my eaves, but they are used to me and barely complain when I walk by.
A bald eagle just flew in, whereupon the loon changed its tune from a territorial yodel to an alarm wail. Now a downy woodpecker is drumming. I can tell it’s a downy because I can clearly hear every tap. It’s slower than the hairy woodpecker’s drum that I heard 15 minutes ago. That drum is so fast that the taps blur together.
I’ve missed this. Mainers live in a special place where the forest talks to us. Sure, every place has its own set of birds and noises. I’m certain that if I were swinging in a Georgia hammock right now, I’d be hearing some birds, too. For sure, I’d hear a Carolina wren, and probably a tufted titmouse, and maybe a cardinal. But that would be about it. So many of North America’s breeding birds fly right over the rest of the country in a hurry to get up here.
Bob Duchesne, Good Birding
Bob Duchesne serves as vice president of Maine Audubon’s Penobscot Valley Chapter. He developed the Maine Birding Trail, with information at mainebirdingtrail.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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