Walking through Duluth's Canal Park this morning, on my way to a meeting at the Amazing Grace bakery, I heard a very familiar song through the din of traffic and construction. Like in the old game show "Name That Tune," I could name that tune in three notes.
"Old Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody."
(or was it "Oh My Canada Canada Canada?"
I went three or four summers in the BWCA hearing the song of the white-throated sparrow but never ever seeing the bird. They hide so well in the thick shrubs next to the lakes. So I listened hard and the next time the sparrow called I walked in the direction of the sound. I did that three or four times until I reached a little corner of rocks and spruce trees in the corner of the parking lot, I was surprised to pick out the bird right away, perched on a short mugo pine. Like in the BWCA, these shrubs were near water, the famous Canal Park fish fountain.
The video above captures another whitethroat on another pine tree. I love how the video captures the bird listening, looking around, hearing other sparrows sing, then launching into its own song. Actually, it's just like our psycho poodle, who goes out on the porch and does the same sequence. Listen, look around, bark, listen, bark.
Poor little lonesome white-throated sparrow was looking for love in all the wrong places. I hope he's moved on to some fitting shoreline or outcrop deep in the North Woods. But I'm glad I found him when and where I did.