Chicago Sun-Times
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Ramble with Storm: Describing call of belted kingfisher & a plethora of helicopters

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stormtight.jpg Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

Just to be plain, I am describing the call of the belted kingfisher and not the call of a plethora of helicopters.

A belted kingfisher was squawking on the west side of the south old clay pit this morning. And I tried to figure out how to describe it. I came up with a hoarse, reverberating squawk.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology described it this way:

Male and female Belted Kingfishers give strident, mechanical rattles in response to the slightest disturbance. When threatened they may give screams, which males sometimes combine with harsh calls.

That is more accurate than my description.

The other noticeable change in the past couple days is the plethora of helicopter seeds falling from maple trees. They are everywhere. They came down hardest on Monday right before the big storms came and washed them into the storm drains.

I am still kid enough to love throwing them in the air and watching them helicopter down.

Back to bird sounds. The big birder in our family is the 8-year-old. He is pretty good at describing bird calls, good enough that sometimes I am able to identify them off his descriptions.

On Saturday, coming back from his baseball game, we were walking down an alley and ended up talking to the retired man who used to lead Boy Scouts in town.

The guy is an unbelievable woodworker and makes cool wren nest boxes. We spent quite a while talking with him about that and other things. Then, as we are walking away, we spotted one of the Eurasian collared-doves in town. Sam noticed the sound.

So we walked back to the woodworker to tell him. He had already seen them around. And he had a great description of how to distinguish their call from mourning doves.

``It sounds like they're hoarse,'' he said.

That makes the description more accessible than the official description from Cornell.

A few days ago, I had some fun with the description from Cornell of Eurasian collared-doves making one call that sounded like ``hwaah.''

The honeysuckle is cycling through quickly, some flowers are already browning.

Storm chased a black squirrel up the neighbor's maple as we neared home.


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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 22, 2013 8:19 AM.

Stray Cast: Chet Coppock & small gnarled rack was the previous entry in this blog.

Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing is the next entry in this blog.

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