Bird watching: song sparrow

Self-tutoring about birds: the tutor notes a song sparrow.

For almost 40 years I’ve been observing birds.

As a kid I lived on the east coast, often in rural areas. There, I was free to follow birds to observe them more closely. Here, the setting’s urban, so if I can’t see a bird, but can hear it, I can’t usually “go to where it is.”

The last few years, the birds have developed an interesting relationship with me:

  1. A bird sings, but I can’t see it.
  2. Said bird is in another yard, where I can’t go.
  3. I can even tell which tree it’s in, but it’s hidden, within the branches, from my view.
  4. The bird continues to sing, knowing that I can’t see it.
  5. I wonder what the bird is.

I tell you truly, this relationship is well established. See the bird watching category of this blog for examples.

Lately a bird’s been outside, singing up a storm. Its song is beautiful, with lots of trills and liquid notes. Yet, what kind of bird is it?

Numerous times, after I’ve been at the computer for a few minutes, the singing starts. Maybe the bird warms up with a few short phrases, then launches into sonatas. The bird’s a virtuoso, embellishing and protracting its song at will. Eventually I walk out to look, but it’s hidden. It continues to sing.

I believe the bird knows this game. Yet, I’ve been determined to identify it, and now have: it’s a song sparrow.

I’ve had to identify the bird by its song rather than its appearance. What decides the identification is that its song typically begins with three separate repeating notes before elaborating.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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