Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nature's Alarm Clock

Earlier this spring we took advantage of the warming weather to air out the house by leaving the windows open all day and overnight. It felt so good to get fresh air blowing through the house. Even Tokyo's spring fever starts when she can sniff at the open patio door. With that luxury of fresh air comes what some may consider a downside: early morning bird calls.

I will admit that some people, my dad for instance, find a sort of peace in the early dawn light listening to birdsong with a cup of coffee on the back patio. Others, like me, prefer to sleep until the alarm clock has gone off at least a couple times. For several weeks it had been my habit to peacefully fall asleep to a fresh spring breeze, then wake up at 4AM to shut the bedroom window when what began as sweet birdsong became like a crowded diner during the lunch rush, then hope to squeeze in a couple more hours of sleep before the beeping reality on my nightstand ordered me up and at 'em.

In the spring and early summer, the robins provided my 4AM wake-up call. It usually began with one robin sending out what sounds like a maniacal laugh of "tuh tuh tuh tuh tuh!" Then the rest of the robins within earshot would start their "cheerup cheerio cheerup." It's actually quite charming, but I still had to shut the window.

Lately I've noticed the robins are quiet and it's the cardinals sending out their pre-dawn chirps. On nights cool enough to leave the air conditioner off, mornings usually begin with one cardinal starting its day with a friendly "purdy purdy purdy," which they sing as many as 12 to 14 times. I've also heard "shirp, shirp, teew teew teew teew teew." I began counting the number of "shirps" versus "teews" and noticed it's 2 and 6, with a few variations.

Although I complain about being woken before I would like, I will admit that I can appreciate hearing such friendly songs as cheerup, cheerio, purdy and what-cheer, first thing in the morning. It's as if they're saying, "cheerio! What a purdy morning, cheerup and you'll see what-cheer is in store for you today!"

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