||[Feb. 20th, 2009|11:24 am]
Doves? pigeons? Is there a difference? I've never been sure. Anyway, I love the sound they make. It's something between a croon and a hoot and it means that spring is on its way. I hear it- as I heard it first thing this morning- and I'm immediately 17 years old. Not that I want to be 17 - too much fear and uncertainty- but there's a certain blank-canvasy hopefulness about being 17 that never comes again- except insofar as you can capture it in memory. Doves/pigeons do it for me every time. It's 1968, I'm walking along a path beside the Lac de Neuchatel, the sun is shining, and I'm in love- have been for a couple of days and will be for a couple of days more- with Anne Cronk, the Canadian girl. |
Tennyson- who was a whiz at onomatopoeia- got the effect of dove-song in the line that goes, "The moan of doves in immemorial elms". Only for him it's a melancholy noise, whereas for me it's the soundtrack of love's young dream.
There are mourning doves in my neck of the woods, too. They sound more like 'emo-doves' to me, but I'm silly that way. The robins have returned to my area (they were here at the end of January) and the volume of birdsong has increased exponentially.
But I hear the doves quite clearly.
We have robins too. There's one little guy who owns our back yard.
Mind you, I believe the British robin and the American robin- though they both have red breasts- belong to quite different species.
Oh, yeah. American Robins are rather large birds compared to British Robins.
I remember the first time I heard a real cuckoo when I was in Germany. Stopped me in my tracks. So did seeing the bald eagle in my oak tree last week. I think it was taking a break. And the cardinal couple is busily building their nest. I hope they get some babies out- there are now three outdoor cats in the neighborhood, and that bush is easy pickings.
I haven't heard a cuckoo in the wild for ages. I don't think they get as far north as this. For me the voice of the cuckoo is the voice of summer- beautiful and strange and deeply moving.
We have blackbirds that nest in the ivy on our garden wall. They're around- though I haven't seen any evidence of nest building yet.
The bird books tell me that the American robin is actually a thrush, if that helps. I know that their young have speckled breasts and that the red only comes with maturity.
If it's a thrush then it'll be considerably bigger than the British robin- which is a tiny, little chap.
I confess I didn't know the English robin was totally different from our American bird until I saw the movie version of The Secret Garden that was made in the early 1990s. A beautiful film, by the way.