Remember the game show, “Name that Tune?” A song would play and contestants would race to see who could identify the song first. Do you feel like that sometimes when you hear a song on a radio that you really like, but you cannot name? The melody sticks with you, the tune reaches your soul, the music seems to be written for you… but you have no idea who wrote it, or performed it, and of course, the D.J. does not mention it. Frustrating! Well, a similar thing happens to me, a lot. Try living in the woods and hearing a new bird song you love, but you cannot identify!
One time, my husband and I were getting ready to leave the house. I was on the front porch and heard a bird song I did not recognize. I ran to the back and listened again. It was positively the most beautiful song I had ever heard. It sounded just like someone playing a lovely flute. I will never forget these enchanting flute notes emanating through the forest trees.
Later, I called a friend of mine, Larry Rizzo, who is an excellent birder and a Natural History Biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. I tried to describe this enthralling bird song. All I could say was that it was the most beautiful bird song I had ever heard, and that it sounded just like a flute. He did not know what I was talking about. I even called him one time and tried holding my phone out so he could hear it – no luck. I kept hearing this bird and his captivating song and looked everywhere for descriptions of a “flute” bird. Finally, I had the idea to record the song. So, the next time I heard the “flute” bird, I held a recorder out and recorded the song. I called Larry and told him I had recorded the “flute” bird. (Luckily, my friends know I am a bit weird and are patient with me.) I held the recorder to the phone.
When I got back on the phone, I asked Larry if he knew the bird. “Yes,” he exclaimed! “I don't know why I didn't figure this out before! It's a hermit thrush. They are considered to have the most beautiful song of all the songbirds and their song is often compared to a flute!”
I was so excited! My flute bird was real and had a real name! (By the way, don't try this at home. I've tried to look up a hermit thrush song on my phone app and there is no comparison… it in no way sounds like a flute. It in no way sounds like the hermit thrush of my forest. That is my disclaimer – you have to hear them in real time.)
There are many joys to being in nature. One of the greatest of these is taking time to listen to the amazing music that is being performed. Insects, birds, amphibians, and even mammals make beautiful and unusual sounds and songs. It is gratifying to know who the musician is, but it does not lessen the beauty of the chorus if you do not.
Reach Lynn Youngblood at TheGreenSpace@sbcglobal.net.