Summer’s Song

On this Memorial Day weekend, traditionally marking the beginning of summer, an Eastern Wood-pewee made it official. Its lazy, seductive whee-oo, pee-a-wee – whee-oo arrived this afternoon in a back-yard scene of warm sun, pleasant breezes, blue sky with white clouds, and green trees all around the edge of the woods, fresh from recent rains. He stayed for several minutes, singing and hunting from the low branches of pines at the edge of the woods, just a little gray bird, but a song that’s so much a part of summer in our woodlands that they wouldn’t be the same without it.

The other sounds were more subdued, like background music. An Acadian Flycatcher sang tse-wheet from down along the creek, a pair of Summer Tanagers called pik-a-tuk softly as they moved through the leaves of the oaks, a Red-eyed Vireo chanted fast and nonstop way down in the woods, a Great Crested Flycatcher called its deep, hoarse whreep, a Pine Warbler sang a loose, warbling trill, and a Chipping Sparrow gave a long, dry, monotone trill from a shrub in the front yard. Chimney Swifts twittered overhead. One female Ruby-throated Hummingbird hummed between the feeder and a perch on a pine branch. A green anole ran along the rail of the deck, stopping to blow up its pink throat several times. Carpenter bees, tiger swallowtails and paper wasps flew in and out of the sun. Two or three juvenile Bluebirds begged for food from the parents in trees around the back yard, and juvenile Cardinals, Titmice, Carolina Wrens and Downy Woodpeckers also begged insistently.

It was a perfect afternoon to be lazy, to sit on the deck in the shade of the oaks with a book, and drift off to sleep listening to the Pewee’s whee-oo.

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