A small slice of summer in my own backyard

A white-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis, visits in my yard this week. © BCP 2011

It is a wondrous day, indeed, when the incomparably beautiful song of the white-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis, first rings out in my backyard in spring. One day, the wintry winds are still clutching and grasping at the just-emerging ephemerals, trying to hang on. Then, just like that, you hear “Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada” coming from the still-bare trees, and voila! We skip spring and go straight to summer.

These dapper little passerines with their fancy hats and neat white bibs aren’t here for long. They’re just passing through our town on the way to the cottage. (Ours, not theirs.) For a week or 10 days, their high-pitched song is heard in our backyards, parks, ravines and woodlots as they enjoy a pit stop before embarking on the next leg of their migration to points north — Muskoka, Algonquin Park, the Madawaska — well, you get the picture.

For me, the song of the white-throat echoing through the forest is the very essence of Ontario summer. You can hear its song here.

Of course, it’s not just Canadians who enjoy this harbinger of summer. Our American friends love this bird, too. And, naturally, they don’t describe its song the way we do. They say its song sounds like “Po-or Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody.”

However you describe it, you have to agree. It is astonishingly beautiful.

© BCP 2011

spikeymom - May 5, 2011 - 11:20 pm

I loved that you gave me the link to the bird song.
Thanks. What a sweet bird.

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