The day before the baby bird in the nest outside my window left the nest for the first time, his entire extended family of California Towhees chirped loudly all day, making a metallic “chip” sound, calling to him and to each other. The next day there he was, sitting in the tree on a branch near my window, looking right at me. He was bigger than I expected and was definitely having a bad hair day.
And now, quiet. No more constant activity of bringing food, standing guard, warning off interlopers. The nest is empty and the chirping is over. After watching them for days raised so many questions, which I scattered in my sketchbook among my 10 attempts to sketch the baby. My favorite was #8 when he turned his head to see mom bringing food and then opened wide to eat that yummy stuff.
I’d always thought birding was for boring old folks but now that I’m a boring old folk myself, I’m finding it quite interesting. Since my knowledge of birds is pretty limited, I initially assumed these guys were robins, since they sort of looked like them but without the red breast. Then I found the Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds website where you can search by many different criteria to identify a bird, including their sounds.
That’s how I learned that these guys are California Towhees which I confirmed by listening to them here. If you click the link and go listen to their sounds, you’ll understand how I came to feel that a community of chirping Towhees was as annoying as a neighbor’s constantly barking dog. I’m guessing they were all calling to the baby, “Come out, it’s safe, we’re standing guard, come out, come out, and try your new wings!”
I’m glad the incessant metallic chip, chip, chip sound only lasted one day, but I miss watching the birds being busy in the tree outside my window and so do my cats.