If you do, send them along to my home. I live in a bird sanctuary. You hear bird voices from before the sun shines in the morning to well past my dinner time at night. If you added a few more caws and bleep-bleeps, I’d never know. Just don’t send a starling. They’re Stanley’s least favorite bird. He calls them rats of the sky. He calls them that when he’s not calling pigeons rats of the sky.
There is a bird population in the neighbor’s palm out front and their voices sound like tiny plops of water into a long and deep well. It’s wonderfully musical. We hear the whirring of humming bird wings, the blather of a crow or two, and the cranking-up loud speaker that is the seagull voice at home.
When we take our walk in the morning, every day we notice the pelicans trolling over the water, fabulous hunters making no sound at all, if you don’t count the splash as they plummet into the surf. And you really can’t count that sound, because though you see it, you don’t ever hear it over the surf itself. Curlews run like crazy, screaming, and making me think one, and maybe all of them, very soon will tip over and break that long beak of theirs. Herons, black seagulls, even Canadian geese line up on the shore, knowing this place is paradise for them. Sanctuary. No one will send them away.
Yesterday for the first time, I saw up close the birds that are nesting in the neighbor’s palm. Gorgeous shining black feathers, but with surprising white or green or yellow spots that flash so fast you can’t exactly know what you’ve seen. They have a stubby, stout body and short back-leaning wings. I described them to Stanley, who from ages four to twenty-four was a leading shooter of California birds, and therefore knows a lot of them. Up close. He was able to identify the bird before I was done with my description. Starlings.
The plop of the sound of their voice isn’t the only plop they make, having found Sadie’s food dish and enjoying it with a dozen fly-bys a day. What can we do? This is a bird sanctuary.