Birds are weird.

For the past half-hour, it has been like living in the woods. (This happens every morning, mind you.) The birds are in the kind of multi-species cacaphony that cannot be adequately described in text. I’d need to do a comic page of warring tweeting in different fonts to really get the feel across. Because I have both the kitchen window and screen door open, generating a nice crossbreeze directly past my brain, I am getting a stereo version. When I work in the studio, a cardinal sets up shop in the bush directly outside the window and engages in a kind of manic, non-stop chirking that makes me glad that I can work through anything short of a nuclear explosion. (I may be able to work through that, too, but the situation’s never arisen.) Athena, who ignores most of the birds these days as possibly hallucinatory, is fascinated by this cardinal, and will sit in the windowsill for hours. The fact that the bird is maybe two feet away from a cat does not seem to register with either of them. I know that Athena is stupid, but I expected better of the bird.

So the birds’re loud. And there’s a lot of them. I don’t know birdsong from Led Zepplin, so I couldn’t tell you who’s doing what, but there’s a whole lotta chirpin’ goin’ on, generally at volumes that are fairly shocking for the size of the tiny little body. Those Carolina wrens, for example, which may well have the jauntiest butts of any bird in North America, can generate some astonishing noises when they get going.

And then, suddenly, there is a dead silence. NPR is suddenly clearly audible. (Since it’s pledge week, this is not a blessing, but still.) Vaguely aware that the birds have stopped, I wander to the screen door, glance around to see why, then shrug and go back. And a few minutes later, somebody chirps, and somebody else chirps, and one of the woodpeckers scuttles down the trunk for a hit of suet, and a nuthatch comes over, and the woodpecker releases a string of avian profanity, and then the cardinal decides it’s chirking time, and the whole orchestra gradually starts up again.

And then there’s dead silence again.

Birds are weird.

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