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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Learning the names of birds

My wife has transformed our back yard into a bird oasis, and in the process, into a bird watcher's oasis as well.  We enjoy this pastime a lot.

Some time back, I decided it was time to quit fooling around and learn the names of some of the birds we were seeing.  I also wanted to be able to identify the birds by their song.

A conversation at the local store Wild Birds Unlimited made us the proud owners of a bird clock.  This clock didn't have regular hour numerals, instead it had a picture of a bird where the numerals would normally be.  A great feature of this clock was an on/off switch that when on, played a MP3 recording of the bird image pointed to by the hour hand when a new hour occurred.  The only thing missing was the name of the bird next to the image, which I think would have made the clock complete.

At first, when I would hear a bird song on the hour from the bird clock, I would run in to the house and look at the image, and note the bird that sang this song.

Gradually, after a while, I became capable of associating the bird song to the image of the bird.  As you can imagine, I was quite proud of this accomplishment - I was slowly but surely learning the song each bird on the bird clock would sing.

Soon, I was able to look at a bird in the yard and sure enough, I could correctly anticipate the sound this bird was going to make.  

I hope you can understand my proud feelings when a bird, unseen in the trees or bushes, would sing a song, and I could turn to my wife and say with complete confidence: "That's a three o'clock bird."

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