Tuesday, June 27, 2006


After the big rain yesterday we were sitting around waiting for it to be dry enough to go out and get something done, when a loud sound like a smoke detector with a low battery pierced the air. It seemed to be emanating from the front porch. It was a sort of whistled, "wheep............. wheep," in that exact tantalizing rythym that makes it so hard to figure out which smoke detector is doing the beeping.

Since there are no smoke detectors on the porch I knew it had to be a bird. A number of them have discovered that if they sing or call from that porch or the cedar trees beside it, the two story front hall amplifies them nicely when the front door is open. They sound like really loud, big, dangerous birds that way, and impress all comers.

This call was one I had heard before, although never as clearly, and had never identified. I stalked the porch with great care, tiptoeing through the entryway and out the door, but the singer was concealed in the trees. Although it continued to yell, “wheep!”, even when I was on the porch I never saw it. However, through the wonders of a Google search for “bird call wheep” I soon discovered that our smoke detector imitator is a great crested flycatcher. You can see one and hear the call here.

Now if only I could see the actual bird out there, instead of just looking up every few minutes because that, "time to change the batteries", sound is such an important and ingrained signal to my brain.


Cubby said...

I love birds, but we rarely see interesting ones in the city. mostly sparrows and grackles.

LauraHinNJ said...

Those *wheepers* are very difficult to find - drives me nutty sometimes! You'd think a big flycatcher with a lemon yellow breast would stick out, but...

threecollie said...

Hi laurahinnj, still haven't seen them and now some little brown birds (lbb's) are feeding their babies in the same tree, driving us nuts trying to actually see them. I think they are purple finches but they won't come out of the cover enough to properly identify them.
Thanks for visiting!