Sunday, May 30, 2010

"blackbird singing in the dead of night"

I've had trouble getting a good night's sleep lately.  

Yah, there's the stress related to living in a time of economic uncertainty and environmental disaster (global warming, the Gulf oil spill).  And there's the bright light of a full moon.

But what's been robbing me of a good night's sleep the past couple of nights ... has feathers and a song.

With the uncharacteristic moderate temperatures and low humidity, I've been sleeping with my window open.   After finishing the final pages of Chuck Logan's Minnesota mystery, Vapor Trail Friday night, I was lulled to sleep by the comforting calls of the Great Horned Owl on the edge of the cornfield behind my house.  Who, who, who-whooo.

I was abruptly awakened at 2am by the loud and incessant repetition of the songs of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Jay, oriole and kingfisher - right outside my window.

It wasn't a dream. 

A mockingbird?  No, their song phrases have 3 or 4 repetitions.

A Brown Thrasher? No,  they usually repeat their phrases twice.

My "black bird singing in the dead of night" sang his phrases only once. 

I got up, walked to the window and looked for the songster.  The noise was coming from a little shrub by the propane tank in my back yard.  Hmm.  I'll check it out when the sun comes up.

Then I forgot about it - until I was awakened again last night.

I went to bed around 11pm.  I could hear the call of the Great Horned Owl off in the distance, accompanied by a chorus of coyotes down by Misha Mokwa creek.  Bark, yip, yip, howl.

I was awakened from a sound sleep by loud bird chatter at 3am.  Deja vu.

I got up and went to the window.    The same monotonous phrases, this time strung together with a "meoww."

Whaddya know!  Mystery solved:  a Gray Catbird.

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