birds

There’s a robin’s nest in the bush right outside my front door; I noticed her there a few weeks ago, then I looked further and discovered that she had eggs. Really, really bad planning on the robin’s part; for a while, every time I left home or came back, she’d fly off. I started being a bit quieter with the door, and she stopped freaking out quite so much every time she saw me. So, we’re getting to know each other. She let me take her picture today:

I’ve been peeking into the nest every now and then (when she’s away) to see how the eggs are doing; well, as of this morning, no more eggs. They’ve hatched, and now there are fuzzy little proto birds wiggling around in the nest. I’m excited to watch their progression to adulthood.

It occurred to me a few days ago (when I first thought about writing this post) that if my personal ratio of curiosity to ethics were slightly different, I could be describing the taste of a robin egg omelette right now.

I spent two and a half hours this afternoon in a didgeridoo workshop. What fun! I wanted to ask the instructor what role the didgeridoo plays in the songlines of aboriginal Australians, but I didn’t want to bore everyone else or sound like a know it all. Probably, I should have just asked and let the chips fall where they may.

One of the things the instructor said towards the end of the class was that the didgeridoo is sometimes used to emulate the sounds of the natural world; so we tried a few Australian bird calls. Now I find myself wondering how well the didgeridoo would handle local bird calls. Mourning dove, loon, osprey; these are the calls I know and love. The anachronism of trying to replicate them on an ancient Australian instrument really appeals to me.

Odd that I decided to write a whole post about bird related topics. Growing up, there was a starling nest outside my bedroom window, and I loved hearing them (the mother and the little ones) every morning. Later, though, bird song took on a more sinister meaning in my mind – I remember sleepless nights, wrought with anxiety, culminating in the raucous cacophony of song birds just before dawn heralding the arrival of another dreadful day. Bad memories, these. Bad days in Beltsville. For a long, long, long time afterwards, I absolutely detested the sound of song birds. This has lessened a bit in the past few years, thankfully, but I still don’t rejoice in bird songs as others (like T) do. At best, it’s a neutral stimulus. I’m aware of it, but it does little for me. I’m just glad it doesn’t make me horribly anxious anymore. I talked to my therapist about this last week; she agreed that tiny, otherwise innocuous things can become absolutely horrible when we associate them with unrelated circumstances; and it can take a lifetime to get over the connection. So I’m thankful to have come as far as I have. Guess I’ll never be much of a birder, though.

Oh – something else the didgeridoo instructor said – the mind is like a garden; if you don’t keep weeding it, it gets out of control almost immediately. I think that’s why I like writing so much; it feels like weeding my mind.

Might also be why I dislike gardening so much.

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2 Responses

  1. Cool neato post.I'm glad you didn't kill the poor robin because of associations with bad memories…my birds aren't chirping any more is it just because it'snighttime? Do they sleep? not sure.

  2. No, I wouldn't have eaten the eggs just because of bad memories. It's not the bird's fault. Besides, I was much too curious to watch the little birds grow up.Birds generally do get quiet at night. They start up again before there's any visible light in the morning – I think this may be because birds' eyes see into the infrared end of the spectrum, so they perceive dawn before we do.Aren't you lucky to have a science geek for a friend? 🙂

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