While SE Michigan still appears in various hues of brown, there is more sunlight, and the temperatures are creeping upward. The maples and a few other trees have buds for fingernails, and you see green spikes shooting up here and there; one might even spot irises showing off. These all foreshadow the show that is to come over the next month, month-and-a-half.
Increasingly, the bird song should include voices you haven’t heard in some time (again, that would depend on your region–do you live somewhere birds don’t leave? I don’t think that happens, but correct my ignorance.) Therefore, this month’s challenge is an audible challenge.
Before I lay down the parameters of the challenge let me offer a little lesson. Why do birds sing anyway? Generally, it’s for two reasons: 1) males are trying to attract a mate or 2) males are defending their territory. Some birds spend as much as 70% of their day singing–which for them is a good use of their time. If you aren’t a professional singer, then 70% of your day spent signing might be counter-productive, not to mention annoying to your family or friends. Some birds “sing” not with their whistles and calls, but like many woodpeckers with the tapping of their beaks. And a fewer still use the sound their wings produce to “sing.”
So, when you hear birdsong, you may be near some amorous conversation OR some one is telling someone else to KEEP OUT!
April’s challenge is this: go outside, find a spot to stand or sit for some time and listen. Can you identify the bird(s) calling? Is there a variety to the song–birdsong for the same species has regional variations–or is it just a note or two? How many different bird songs are happening? Can you spot the birds singing and is the target of the song visible?