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The Bird Whisperer
Gulls will eat almost anything
The secret language of birds
Walking through the parking lot of the grocery, the sound of gulls squawking filled my ears. Midsummer, hot and windy, the sound was not foreign, but unusually persistent. I assumed a flock of gulls to be arguing over the latest breakfast trash, left in the lot by overnight truckers.
Although we live in Wyoming, far from any sizable body of water, gulls are constantly circling overhead, searching out picnics, fast food trash, and overfull garbage dumpsters. They squawk angrily at each other as they compete for the tastiest morsel of leftover refuse.
On this particular day, as I approached our car, I realized only one gull perched on a post nearby. The noise came from our car, where my (former) husband stood by, conversing with the gull. They carried on quite a conversation until I approached, then the gull flew off. No other shoppers seemed to notice the chatter between the two, and I hid my surprise.
He has a way with birds.
Magpies are thought to be magical creatures
The magical magpie
On several different occasions, hiking in the woods with our dogs, he began cawing loudly at a group of magpies in the trees. The magpies followed along our journey, confused by the two legged creature who seemed to know their language. I realized then that I married a bird whisperer. Well, maybe not a whisperer. Definitely a bird talker.
He has always claimed an affinity for the magpie. With its blue and black iridescent markings, the bird, although common, is quite beautiful.
Native American's and energy workers venerate the magpie as having magical qualities, due to the nature of the feathers. They reflect light, sometimes appearing blue and black, sometimes seeming to reflect greens, reds and other beautiful colors.
A juvenile robin
Robin comes to roost
And so it continues. He shrieks at hawks, and they respond. Circling overhead, they scree back to him, until the hawk soars on. He speaks to the eagles nested near the river. Blackbirds hiding in the willows call to him, following us on walks, as he answers back.
Last summer, he spoke with the chickadee's in our garden. They sat above the wild roses, chattering back and forth with him for hours. The doves on the power line coo back, when he addresses them.
We have even come up with names for some of our regular visitors. Doug the dove sits on the line. He can't believe a human is speaking his language. Soon his wife joins him, wondering why he is out so late. Doug explains that humans are speaking dove. She sits, listening on the line. Then with a frustrated coo, she takes off, warning Doug that he needs to come home, and stop messing with the humans. At least that's how it seemed from the back patio.
The greatest of all was a young robin one summer, who lived in the bushes around our patio. My bird talker sat outside, chirping to that baby bird all summer.
The following spring, we saw the first robin, returning to the area. My husband the bird talker went out and began the distinct call of the robin. The bird not only answered him, but hopped closer and they conversed briefly. My husband returned smiling, and announced that our baby robin had come home to roost. The robin spent the summer, near the patio, chattering with my husband, seeming unafraid.
Other Birds of Southwest Wyoming
One of the most popular birds to observe in early spring is the Sandhill Crane. These majestic birds migrate through southwest Wyoming, and can be seen near water. In the spring, mated pairs, along with their babies can be observed in fields, eating bugs, frogs and whatever else they can find. The cranes have distinct long legs, and beautiful red/orange markings on the head. The call of the sandhill crane is a beautiful sound, much like the a deep trumpeting sound. The cranes can be heard for great distances.
I usually hear the mournful call of the crane in the very early morning, and again at dusk. It is a haunting and beautiful sound.