I Know that Voice

That bird call…there it was again.  

And again.

Six notes, a three-note phrase repeated twice.  Argh. I knew what it was, but I didn’t. Three notes, the second lower than the first, and the third higher than both of the others.  

Was it a robin, claiming its territory from high atop the neighbor’s house?  Or the mockingbird, who oftentimes sits at the same perch, sounding just like, well, a bunch of different birds?  No, I didn’t think so.

I knew it wasn’t a cardinal, as a cardinal’s voice is just a touch deeper.  Maybe a wren. We have a lot of those, and wrens are possibly the loudest tiny bird in the world.  But, no, I didn’t think so.

I knew what it wasn’t.  It wasn’t a jay, loud and obnoxious, its beauty–in my opinion–more in its appearance than its song.  It wasn’t a brown thrasher, rarely seen above knee height as it races across open spaces. 

Not a mourning dove, and not one of the ubiquitous sparrows whose specific species I’ve never been able to identify.  Not a titmouse, with its peter peter peter call, and not a towhee, encouraging me to drink my tea.  

Not a grackle or a starling, as it was a solitary voice.  Bluebird or house finch? No, I didn’t think so.

I’ve written before about sitting at my kitchen table, watching the birds that occupy the area around our house, and that’s where I was, listening to the birds.  The particular bird whose song I was enjoying was just above the line of vision allowed by the window. Singing, and singing.

I knew I would feel foolish, but I had to go and look.  Pushing my chair back in, I slowly walked out the back door so as not to scare my avian vocalist.


A chickadee.  Most likely you’ve already been saying that, reader of mine.  Chick a dee chick a deeChick a dee chick a dee.

I knew that. 


12 thoughts on “I Know that Voice”

  1. We love the chickadees that visit our feeder! The other night we were on a walk and my daughter and I heard a Pileated Woodpecker. We stopped and waited for it to leave it’s hiding spot. When it did, it flew right in front of us! I’m always so happy when the birds return.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, and for your comments. As I was writing this, I did my best to share the answer without sharing the answer. I enjoy “bird listening” as well, but am not nearly as proficient as I’d like to be.


      1. Patricia, yes! I’m an elementary teacher, and so often I see former students who have grown up and don’t look like they’re 9 years old anymore. It’s almost always the voice that I recognize, even if I can’t remember the name.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s only easy when you have the answer!

    In my mornings on the back deck and walking around the nature trail, I’ve gotten better at matching the sounds to the birds. And I haven’t heard the sound in a very long time, but I discovered two owl pellets in my front yard. Anxious for it/them to make an appearance!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re absolutely right: Having the answer helps! I hope you get to see your owl sooner rather than later. Some volunteer work I do with a conservation organization involves working with an owl, and I miss him dreadfully. I hope you enjoy these spring mornings on your deck!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading this. I feel this way so often in the spring! So many bird songs that I KNOW I knew last spring, but it takes time to rub the rust off and be able to identify automatically. It was fun to read you running through all the possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Birds and poetry go together, don’t they? I chuckled as I read your comment because I’m editing a poem about a bird to share later this week. I enjoy your poetry and look forward to seeing birds make an appearance when they do!


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