Joel Vernier

love waking up in the morning to the sunlight and the songs of birds. I always wondered why so many species of birds begin to sing at sunrise. Birds can sing at any time of the day, but it seems to me that they are livelier and louder at first light. I have often wondered if it’s like the bird’s morning prayer. Scientists call it the “dawn chorus.” It can start as early as 4 a.m. and last several hours. I usually wake up around 6 a.m., and I hear them quite clearly. I love the cooing of the morning doves; they seem to start off chirping, then the robins and many more I cannot identify. It is just beautiful to hear. I usually can sleep through a lot of chirping, but I have to admit that when a pileated woodpecker begins working on a tree to get a nice breakfast of bugs, it “bugs” me. Wow, they can be loud!

Birds chirp to indicate danger, communicate and attract a mate, and warn other birds that this is their territory. Suppose you happen to be a deep sleeper, and nothing wakes you up. In that case, you can go on YouTube and search ‘dawn chorus, international dawn chorus,’ turn up your volume and enjoy a simulated morning chorus of birdsong. Each species has its own song. The hummingbird sounds like a buzzing to the human ear, but when you slow it down, it sounds very complicated and like a series of flute notes, according to Paul Hanford, a biologist.

I love the sound and sights of birds in nature, in the city, and around my home. I purchased a book that shows the birds of North America, and I have used it on occasion to identify a bird that I do not recognize. I thought I spotted a bunting bird once, American gold finches are pretty, as well as once I observed a domestic parakeet in the City of Royal Oak, when I was a kid. I do not proclaim that I am an ornithologist or even a dedicated birder, but I enjoy seeing birds. 

I have imagined myself being able to fly like a bird, in daydreams, night dreams, and just in my imagination. As a child, I would jump off the front porch, flap my arms like they were wings, and quickly land on the ground with a thud. It’s the gravity of the situation. I have dreamed that I could fly, and I could get higher and higher using a swimming breaststroke, then I could rest as I floated downward and then begin to air-swim again to keep on flying. I guess I was pretending to be Daedalus and Icarus, who made wings of wax and feathers and flew towards the sun. The sun melted the wax, and his wings melted, and Icarus fell into the sea and drowned.

I love birds, watching them fly, play, and just rest on a tree branch. I have never understood the game they seem to play by flying down in front of my car when I’m driving; it’s like a “kamikaze” death wish. After all, they could just fly over my car.

I know tomorrow morning you are going to set your alarm so that you can wake up and listen to the “dawn chorus.” I always seem to work up an appetite when I spend a few moments to hear their morning prayers; it’s a beautiful way to start your day!

“Remember, every day is a gift! Some are just a little more fun to open than others.” – © Joel M. Vernier 07/1/2021 Author of: “The Guinea Pig In The Freezer.” joelmvernier@aol.com.

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