Like a trip on the African Queen

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by Isaac Hunter

Our back yard, just out the kitchen window, is noisier than the sound effects from that wonderful 1951 movie. There’s a buncha newly-fledged Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks whose screaming and begging would rival the SFX and Bogie for the Oscar.

Grosbeaks

We had no idea such raucus racket could come from such tiny creatures.

We figure there’s 15 or 20 of them, cause we have at least five families nesting here with an average production of probably 3.5 per. That’s ’cause we decided to leave the suet feeder up this summer rather than bring it in as we usually do – as a result the colourful birds have stayed with us rather than move off into the Grove to raise their young.

These guys scream from dawn to dark. To wake the dead. Usually a male feeds them, probably when he can’t stand the racket any longer. Mom, like moms everywhere, can ignore. Likely figure it’s time the young started earning their own living. Which ain’t too difficult, considering we’re spending twenty bucks a week on Walmart suet to help.

We wonder if they may have some difficulty when it’s time to leave for the south and they truly hafta have better survival skills than needed around here. At least they’ll have good fat reserves.


Combine grosbeak screams with shrieking jays, moaning doves, rattle-chattering Wood Frogs, the hyena laugh of three adult Pileated Woodpeckers (they come several times daily to the feeder) and the haunting songs of the Hermit Thrush, Virio, Oriole, Crested Flycatcher – you’d have a sound track to embellish the scariest jungle movie.

Not to mention the Sapsucker pounding on the eaves of our steel roof. Or the Barred Owl that, from time to time, does his “who, who, who-whoooo are you?” about 2 am just yards from the bedroom window.

Friends like to come by for sundowners on our porch because it’s so peaceful and quiet.

Yeah, right.