Early Morning on a Summer Day

Soon after sunrise this morning, the day already felt very warm. The sky was still a gentle blue with scattered, small white clouds. From somewhere in the woods around our back yard, a Pine Warbler trilled a cool and shady song. Two Eastern Towhees called back and forth, chur-whee, one on either side of the yard. A Summer Tanager sang from trees around the edge of the woods, and from further away, I could also hear the more strident notes of a Scarlet Tanager. An Acadian Flycatcher sang its sharp but quiet pit-sah! from down around the creek. A Great Crested Flycatcher whistled a burry whreep – and another answered. 

An Eastern Bluebird pair made frequent trips to and from a nest box, feeding babies that cheeped loudly each time a parent arrived. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zipped often to the feeder that hangs from the deck. A Chipping Sparrow sang a long, level trill; Carolina Wrens burbled, fussed, and sang. A Tufted Titmouse piped peter-peter. A Downy Woodpecker whinnied. An American Goldfinch flew over, and I could hear the distant caws of American Crows, as well as the muffled noise of morning traffic. 

The long, percussive ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-cawp-cawp-cawp-cawp of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo echoed through the trees from pretty far away. Even though it rarely comes close, I’m happy to hear a Yellow-billed Cuckoo at all, because it’s the only one I’ve found around our whole neighborhood so far this summer. Sometimes the distant songs and calls of once-familiar birds like the Cuckoo, the Scarlet Tanager, and the Wood Thrush we hear now and then, sound like birds that are fading away, not a sudden disappearance, but drifting further and further away each year. 

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