Like Light Streaming

singing house wrenHouse Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if all our days contained only natural sounds. Would we listen once again to the wind and know what it meant? Would we hear as much as we see? There is, of course, no way to know — we closed that door behind us long ago — but listening to a bird singing touches something in our ancient past. Birdsong is like light streaming through the keyhole from a lost world.

Don Stap, “Birdsong: A Natural History”

The photo was taken a couple of years ago… But each Spring this scene repeats itself as several House Wren pairs go about the business of singing and nesting in various spots just outside (or in!) the walls of our cabin. Their calls are varied and repetitive, often dominating the soundscape of my daily activities well into late Summer. What bird calls are most commonly heard around your home at this time of year?

Harsi / May 8, 2011 / birds, quotations


  1. Lisa - May 8, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    GREAT photo…I love it! And I really love the quote you have chosen to share. (I highly recommend reading it aloud!) Let’s see. The birds I hear the most these days are the Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, a myriad of woodpeckers and finches, and of course chickadees. More often than not I can hear the loud jackhammer sound of a Pileated Woodpecker in the nearby woods. He/she is very shy and elusive :(. Oh, and yes, the Blue Jay who is very protective of others by alerting them to danger 🙂 Hardly every wrens these days — interestingly enough. Happy start to your new week ? xo

  2. Harsi - May 8, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

    Lisa… just the lady I was hoping to hear from on this subject! I went and listened to the calls for a few of the birds you mentioned, since I don’t have any first-hand experience with your east coast regulars. It was striking to me how similar (and yet distinctly different) the Tufted Titmouse song/calls are to my local species — the Oak Titmouse. The Blue Jay, on the other hand, didn’t remind me much at all of the local Western Scrub-Jays… well, except perhaps for the fact that they both sound a bit cranky. 🙂 Thank you for your compliments on my photo — it could even be the same wren as the one in the other photo I sent you awhile back! I own the book that the quotation was taken from. You might find it interesting… it’s definitely well-written, but a bit on the technical side at times. Perhaps more info than the average person wants to know. You’re welcome to borrow it if you’re curious though!

  3. Lisa - May 8, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    whoops..that was hardly *ever* wrens (!)

  4. Ben - May 9, 2011 @ 6:22 am

    Love it. Great shot. I can practically hear the song. Such a gorgeous bird and really nice to be able to see it so clearly (rather than through the foggy glass of the old lantern where that little house wren got trapped the other day while trying to build a nest)! B

  5. Harsi - May 9, 2011 @ 7:27 am

    Howdy, B! Glad you dig this one. Although I was using a 400mm lens, the bird was actually very close to me when I shot this — thus the “in your face” feel. They sometimes perch just in front of the kitchen window and sing for several minutes, presumably attempting to lure females to a nesting site (or advertise their territory to other males). The kitchen window makes for a near-perfect photography blind… though the glass does distort/compromise the image slightly. Oh, and seeing your wren “through the foggy glass of the old lantern” is EXACTLY why I like that shot so much! A true journalistic photo — bursting at the seams with a story that’s waiting to be told.


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