C is for Cheeseburger Bird

Summer is coming, summer is coming.
I know it, I know it, I know it.
Light again, leaf again, life again, love again,
Yes my wild little poet.

Sing the new year under the blue.
Last year you sang it as gladly.
New, new, new, new ! Is it then so new
That you should carol so madly ?

Love again, song again, nest again, young again,
Never a prophet so crazy!
And hardly a daisy as yet, little friend,
See, there is hardly a daisy.

Here again, here, here, here, happy year!
O warble unchidden, unbidden!
Summer is coming, is coming, my dear,
And all the winters are hidden.
The Throstle,  by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Garners are birders.

One of the many gifts of homeschooling is time;
time to watch, time to track,
time to listen, time to enjoy.
Over the last few years we’ve had time to learn the rhythms of the bird life in our yard.

Every year, late winter we are treated to a visit from an immense flock of American Robins who descend with great chattering and formidable appetites to devour each and every shiny red berry on our American Holly tree.   Watching closely, we glimpse a few Cedar Waxwings amongst the group!  Once they’ve gleaned every trace of crimson from the branches, our feathered friends politely clean up any remaining morsel that might have fallen on the ground under the tree.

And yes, I’ve finally learned to move the cars, and relocate the patio chairs for the less polite, but inevitable outcome.

In mid-March to early April, our mornings in the school room are accompanied by a chorus of song birds.   This year, a wonderful counter-tenor  sings outside our window, and so beautifully that GraceNotes and I have to stop, look at each other and smile.  Unfortunately, we can’t see our serenading songbird, so we began to wonder who (and what) he is.

We decided to dust off Mr. Garner’s Stokes Bird Call CD’s and attempt to identify the birds we hear singing every morning, starting with our counter tenor. First, we reviewed our Backyard Bird Count list to look for likely suspects.  (I have a Pinterest Board with images of the birds that we see regularly.) Then we pulled the CD’s and listened to obvious, and then less obvious candidates on our Stokes Bird Call CDs to see if we could Put a Name with that Tune.  Taking a tip from (Handbook of Nature Study Blog) Barb’s post on birdsong, we put words to the song to help us remember the rhythm.  We both decided (and not at lunchtime) that it sounded like “Cheese-bur-ger, cheese-bur-ger, cheese-bur-ger.” We went to the piano and decided the notes were a D,C and A above middle C.   We listened to the Stokes CD again, and Cornell’s All About Birds website, but nothing sounded quite right.

We searched further online, and found that there were a lot of people out there looking for the “Cheeseburger bird!”   While all of the “official” bird song sites were devoid of this particular song, a slightly frustrated search of “morning cheeseburger eastern bird song” brought up a You Tube site with exactly the song we hear! Here it is:

The beautiful song of a Carolina Wren!  

The poem at the beginning of the post is by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and if you read it out loud you’ll catch the rhythms of Spring bird call.  April is National Poetry month.  You should read some!

This post is being submitted to Blogging through the Alphabet over a Ben and Me.


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