Great To Be Alive!

This is what you’d think the birds were singing the other morning–so cheery and sweet, peppy and happy! But of course the males are really chirping “you want summa me?” and “so’s ya muddah”–that sort of thing. “Step over that line. Dare ya!”

But it lifts my spirits, even when I’m objective and face facts as facts. We are blessed to have such a rich diversity of bird life yet, and should not take it for granted. It could well be that our children’s children might only have the recordings if we don’t do a better job of protecting our passerine (songbird) winter habitat in South and Central America from the logger’s chainsaws (among other weak links in the chain of bird life.)

This home grown clip (link below) was taken hand held with my ever-present Olympus DS2 recorder. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) you can never get a clean recording of birdlife here on the creeks for the incessant babble of water over rocks. Can you hear it–Goose Creek in the distance, the brook by the house only 15 feet away as I stand on the back porch with the birds all around? Imagine you are out there with me, an audio field trip to Goose Creek.

Check out for great information and help identifying those unknown birds you spot or hear every day (don’t you?). In my clip, prominent (though by no means exclusively) you’ll hear Kentucky Warblers (ChippyChippyChippyChippy). And who is making the cheWit cheWit CHEWITT! (Listen and compare my Kentucky warbler and Hermit Thrush –tee oh lay! oh lay oh Teee!–to the website’s recordings) And what other featured songsters do your perceptive ears hear?

And while you’re in an audio state of mind, visit the freesounds project to which I will probably upload my bird clips when I’ve accumulated a few more.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Ah,now I hear it. Did you change something Fred, or was I having finger trouble last time round?

    Either way, I can see how hearing those sounds every morning must give you a lift. Even here where I live, which is effectively suburbia, it’s the presence of birdlife (22 species known to visit our garden, at the last count) which reminds me that we’re only sharing this planet with its other residents – they all have just as much right to it as we do.

  2. Such glorious music! I love the babbling brook too, Fred. I might never get anything done around the house if I lived there because I’d always be outside by the brook (except in winter)!

  3. thanks for alerting us to — for a while I listened to a CD of birdcalls while doing dishes at night, but it’s such an overload that way — good to be able to single out one bird at a time and really “dig in.” Maybe someday I’ll get past the “it’s a bird” level of recognition (the catch-all “pie-eyed goldfarb” — you know what I’m taking about)…

  4. Wouldn’t that be beautiful music to wake up to! Kenju, I agree – the brook provides a lovely backdrop to the birdsong. I could feel the morning air as I listened, and caught a scent of the morning woods.