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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Summer Night Song on a Winter Day


     I thought I heard a whip-poor-will this afternoon. However, this small brown bird sings at night during the hot summer months, not on winter afternoons. It feeds on insects so it migrates to Central America in fall and returns to North America to breed in summer time. No whip-poor-will could survive in the Ozarks this time of year because it would have nothing to eat. I love listening to them saying their name on warm nights in July. Perhaps the sound drives some people mad, being to monotonous and constant. For me it is a sound I have heard all my life, it lulls me to sleep like no other lullaby. But on this brisk winter day, the sound took me completely by surprise. For a moment, I smiled. Then I frowned.
     Soon I determined that the very convincing whip-poor-will song was actually being sung by the mimicking mockingbird. This common songbird is the Arkansas state bird and can mimic almost any song, even a cell phone ring or car alarm. Often it mocks sounds it hears and it is not strange for it to mimic the whip-poor-will; however, I find it surprising that this bird remembered the song of the whip-poor-will and recalled it so accurately many months later. Both the mocking bird and I reminisced together, remembering hot summer nights while enjoying a cool winter afternoon.  

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! :-) One of my favorite summer sounds as well, though it's been years since I heard one. They like to stay in heavily wooded areas with few nights sounds interrupting their singing.