I rose before dawn this morning (April 21) and drove to a location where I had heard a bluebird singing the evening before. Sure enough, at first light, he flew to the top of an oak tree and began singing excitedly, his dawn song, composed of bright slurred whistles punctuated by loud staccato outbursts of notes.
Joining him was a Chipping Sparrow, also singing his special dawn song, a lively series of rather brief metallic trills of variable length (his normal daytime trills generally last much longer). The timing of the Chipping Sparrow’s dawn song is likened by some to the intermittent firing of a machine gun.
Enjoy this lovely recording, a fingerprint of dawn here at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky (also be sure to click on the thumbnail image to the left, so you can enjoy Marie Read’s beautiful photo).
Dawn songs of an Eastern Bluebird and a Chipping Sparrow. Recorded by Lang Elliott at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, April 21, 2010.
After the bluebird finished his performance, I wandered around a bit and noted the songs of several other birds that I hadn’t heard during the last couple of days:
Nashville Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Scarlet Tanager, Summer Tanager, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler. Perhaps too I forgot to mention birds I heard and recorded yesterday: Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, and no doubt more—there’s getting to be too many birds for me to keep track of!
Spring is rushing north like a tidal wave. If you’re a northerner, grab hold of a tree. Otherwise you may get knocked over when all the birds come crashing in.