March 16, 2010

Oh, The Joyful Return of the Red-wing!

O-ka-lee, O-ka-lee
Such joy this morn whilst pulling up the window curtain I thought I heard the call of the Red-winged Blackbird. I rushed outside; yes, yes!, the welcomer of Spring in the form of flight and call has returned to Corgyncombe! The above photograph was taken a couple of years ago.

"The blackbirds make the maples ring
With social cheer and jubilee;
The redwing flutes his o-ka-lee"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In May, the meadow behind the garden and along the creek are abundantly full of almost continuous O-ka-lees.

In "A Year with the Birds" by Wilson Flagg, he writes of the Red-winged Blackbird's song: "These notes seem to spring from a fulness of joy upon returning to their native swamps."

In "Bird-Life" by Frank M. Chapman, he describes the Red-winged Blackbird's song: "The Redwing's liquid kong-quer-ree is pleasantly suggestive of marshy places, but it is his early spring music for which we should chiefly value him."

He also writes: "But when early in March the Redwings come, then we know that the tide of the year has turned. With perennial faith in the season they come in flocks of hundreds, singing their springtime chorus with a spirit that March winds can not subdue."

In the summer, whilst in search of other lovely things, we happened upon a serendipitous find, a Great Blue Heron amongst the reeds. The cover of "Bird-Life" by Frank M. Chapman reminds us of this Blue Heron.

Found tucked in the pages of "Bird-Life", a penny postcard sent to Mr. E. G. Tabor from Frank M. Chapman, the author of "Bird-Life".
"Dear Mr. Tabor: Glad to hear you are using your camera again. You do too good work to be long idle. I shall be delighted to have the pictures for Bird-Lore and when I return in July I will tell Professor B? about the negatives. Yours truly, Frank M. Chapman"

Darling Sweet Pea.

In "The Springs of Joy" illustrated by Tasha Tudor, there is a little spotted goat kid to go along with the quote:
"There is no season such delight can bring As summer, autumn, winter and the spring." - William Browne

Here is a link to last year's Red-Winged Blackbird post:
Spring Cheer!

Below is a link to Cornell's All About Birds Red-winged Blackbird page:

In the Sound section, if you click the play button for the song you will hear the Red-winged Blackbird.


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