Friday, October 02, 2009


Last night I sat outside on a big boulder at the edge of my back forest and watched the sun set. The rock is a favorite spot of mine. Its shape makes a reasonably comfortable seat, and its location is a good one for watching the forest around me.

Between rainy weather and evening activities, more time than usual has passed since I’d watched the evening forest from this spot. Perhaps it’s been a week, perhaps 10 days. In any event, a lot has changed since I last sat there. The most noticeable change was the lack of birdsong.

Last night I heard and saw almost no birds, though I first went to the spot nearly an hour before sunset. A cardinal chipped pointedly, perhaps at me, from nearby. A blue jay screamed, a distant crow cawed at something. A titmouse twittered and a chickadee scolded. That was it. I didn’t hear the noisy robins or the bluebirds I knew were nearby. The wood thrush are long gone, and last night I didn’t hear a phoebe for the time since spring.

The quieting of the forest is one of the surest signs of fall and the approaching winter. It’s quite lovely to sit in the quiet and listen to the sound of silence in a quiet woods. But last night, more than I enjoyed the quiet, I missed the sound of the birds.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

This is so true, what you say regarding the fall's declining birdsong.

All I'm mostly hearing now around the cottage—excluding river species such as ducks and geese, and the squawking heron—are the usual dooryard species…cardinals, chickadees, titmice, jays, crows, Carolina wren, finches, red-bellied and pileated woodpeckers, nuthatches.

Yesterday, which was cold but sunny, also had squeaking hummingbirds. (At least during the hour or so I got to spend here!) Today being dark and raining, it's unlikely I'll hear or see one. Moreover, their season hereabouts is all but over.

Autumn's quiet does take some time getting used to.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: Sometimes I think that paying attention to the outdoors helps a body deal with change. In this area, the natural world is constantly changing, and the quieting of birdsong is just one more example. It's takes me a day or so to get used to the surprise of how much has changed in a short time, but I'm okay with that.

I don't know how I'd do in a place where the weather didn't change much, though.


Squirrel said...

Hi, I am missing the Wood Thrush that used to sing each evening and will be glad when he returns. Each evening now when I drive home the sun is setting and after I feed my dog it is dark. In the morning when I leave it is also dark so I have no idea what is happening on my mountain until the weekend. This time of year it is always a shock to see how much has changed in just a week. Sure, in the city the leaves change and it gets colder but the sounds are always the same...loud and louder. We are fortunate to live in a place where birdsong is part of our lives.

Have a nice weekend.

Carolyn H said...

Squirrel: i can't really tell my chickens apart. They really look about the same. Oh, one is just a tad paler and another has a slightly smaller comb, but other than that, they look the same. So no, the girls don't have names

Carolyn H.