Southwestern Bird Life



It was my first night at Double Adobe Campground, near Bisbee AZ. I opened my eyes to the song of a lone bird outside the back window of my motor home. Two thirty A.M.! Is it only one bird? No, it was the opening note for a multitude. I lay still for a few minutes and allowed the lullaby to coax me back to sleep.

A few hours later the approaching sunrise teased away the dark of night. It was almost overwhelming when about fifteen minutes before the sun made its appearance over the horizon, a chorus of birdsong erupted to welcome the new day.

 Moments before the sun appeared there came a great hush, as if in reverence of the gift we were about to receive. I have been told that the rising of the sun each morning is accompanied by a note so sweet, so pure that only creatures finely tuned to God can hear. The celebration of bird-sound that exploded following the fiery rising seemed testimony.

Did you know there is a bird that really does say, "Tweet, tweet?" Actually, it's more, "To-weet, to-weet."

Then there's another that actually say's, "Pretty bird, pretty bird." 

There's a kind of grackle I first saw in N.M. at a lake where I camped on the beach. It is iridescent, blue-black, and has a tail that trails off to the side a bit. It can be very obnoxious in it's call. It swoops into a tree, and lands with a resounding "Graw-w-w-w-ck!" loosely translated; "Dam, that hurt!" Then it follows with a drunken-like tilting and feather ruffling, accented with a shrill, "Breeeeeck!" upon which he regains his composure and looks around for the nearest female of the species. Not unlike some men I've known.

Then there are the gambrel quail, who fritter along over the ground in their little hurry to get to where the next tidbit might be. 

By the way, did you ever wonder why all the rabbits, squirrels, raccoon, deer, porcupines, etc, etc, always wait just inside the brush alongside the road till they see your car coming, then make a bee-line right in front of you for the other side? Do they have a death wish, or something? Maybe it's the animal kingdom's version of Russian roulette.

Then, how about the ones who stop dead in their tracks in the middle of the road, look your way with that horrified, "What do I do now?" look on their wide-eyed face, and then invariably choose to go back from whence they came? If only we could tell them, wrong choice Buddy. If you'd made the other choice, you'd already be there.

But I've gotten away from my original subject, haven't I?

The quail seem to have that innate characteristic of wanting to get there, but wanting an audience in their flight. They wait behind the bush, then as seemingly inconspicuous as possible, dart into your pathway, paying no attention to you at all. But he knows you're there. And he knows he's handsome. And he knows you know it.

I'm sitting now at sunset, listening to the bird who say's he's pretty. I've not been able to connect the claim with the claimant. For all I know he may be dirty gray, with disheveled feathers, and disproportionately put together. Do birds have warts? But I'll give him a ten for attitude!



Nancy Tate, 1996