May 26th, 2010
The other evening my husband called my attention to a beautifully melodic bird song coming from the vicinity of the 50 year-old apple tree in our backyard. After searching the leafy tree in vain I picked up Morse’s “Birds of the Puget Sound Region” and began checking song descriptions of thrushes and warblers. The Varied thrush was a possibility but it is seldom seen in our suburban yard. I flipped the pages some more and just as I read ” a melodious song, long whistled warble likened to drunken robin” the so-described Black-headed grosbeak (Pheuticus melanocephalus) swooped from the recesses of the Gravenstein, and landed on a glass garden ornament just 20 feet from my seat at the kitchen table just inside our glass back door. He posed for at least two minutes; his tawny breast and rump standing out in bold contrast with his glossy black head and back. I’d known the Black-headed grosbeak previously only by its sharp one-note call, a call that led me to nickname it “Johnny one-note”. What a pleasure now to recognize its musical song as well and have my evening weeding accompanied by their long, light melodies .
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