Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Whippoorwill Lullaby

There are many of them this year--whippoorwills singing their hearts out for love (or lust, take your pick). I cannot remember hearing so many whippoorwills in years.

I wonder what is driving the increase. Is it that the land, once cleared almost completely for crops, has now reverted to more forest than clearing? Has something else made the habitat more friendly for these shy night-time birds?

Although it can be annoying to have a lovesick bird calling immediately below your window at 4 AM, there is nothing like listening to their calls as dusk turns to night and the song of the whippoorwill echoes from one ridge to another.

These are some of the measures of true country for me--the song of the whippoorwill, the calls of multitudes of birds just before daybreak, and the utter quiet of moonless night when not even a light breeze is stirring. If only we still could hear the drumming of grouse and the scream of bobcats now and then, it would be perfect. But these wild creatures seem to have been driven further back into the hills now that there are more than two houses on the ridge.

Times change, and with change comes some loss. Personally, I would prefer less change, and more wildness about me. But at least there is a change for the good with the increase of whippoorwills. I'll take what I can get. I'll be content to sit on the deck and listen to the whippoorwills.


Grand Life said...

It's been a couple of days since I have visited you and I love your recent posts. What a beautiful drive you have home. Hope you have a great week.

Tipper said...

I've been hearing one lone whippoorwill for the past several mornings. I love to hear them.

Amy Shinn said...

I miss hearing "bobwhite!" at night

bluemountainmama said...

lovely sentiments... your words really do feel like a lullaby... lulling. i haven't heard whippoorwills since we moved from our farm in KY. apparently they used to be in the NC mountains(where we moved to in my teen years), but are there no longer.

oh, and continuing on the red maple key thread, another blogger just posted a pic of them:

Granny Sue said...

I hear bobwhites sometimes, Amy, but you're right, they are almost as scarce as the ruffed grouse. We started hearing bobwhites again about 4 years ago, but I don't believe I've heard any this year.

blue, I don't know if you have whippoorwills in Grant County. I'll need to ask Geirge if they ever hear them.

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