A Little Bird (And Some Big Ones) Told Me

“’Pleased, pleased, pleased, pleased-ta MEETCHA’,” Momanita sang. 

She lifted my cover. I kept my eyes closed. Sometimes she went away and let me sleep.

“’Pleased, pleased, pleased, pleased-ta MEETCHA’,” Momanita sang again.

It didn’t work.

“I read this morning,” Momanita began.

“Let me guess. You Googled something.”

“I Googled ‘identifying birds by their songs.’”

“Tell me when I’m awake!”

“Please to meetcha,” the Chestnut-sided Warbler sang.

To other hootmans this sounded like squeals and whistles, but not to Momanita. She MOSTLY understood cockatiel speak. I MOSTLY understood hootman talk.

“It’s easier to remember a bird song, if it sounds like words. When I hear the ‘MEETCHA’ call, I’ll look for a Chestnut-sided Warbler.”

Momanita got my attention!

Momanita pinched a Cheerio between her fingers and held it as I munched. Then she rubbed my belly. She knew how to get my attention.

“Let’s look up some others.” 

I climbed out of my rolly cage into my writing nest. Momanita climbed the stairs to HER writing nest. She scooted her chair to the computer and tapped the keyboard. I perched on top the writing nest and preened.

“There are recordings of the calls,” Momanita read. “Listen to this! This one sounds like someone asking ‘Who’s awake? Me, too.’”

I stopped preening. TERROR BIRD! My crest flew up.

Sometimes I heard the TERROR BIRD at night!

“That’s a Great Horned Owl”

“Turn it off!” 

“Here’s another. ‘Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?’ It’s a Barred Owl.”

“Another TERROR BIRD!” I climbed back into the writing nest and tried to shut the door.

“It’s upsetting you,” said Momanita. “I’ll turn it off.”

The Yellow Warbler song calmed me.

Sometimes I heard owls calling at night when I’m safe in my rolly nest. They couldn’t hurt me, but they still scared me.

“Maybe this one will calm you. The Yellow Warbler’s call sounds like ‘sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet.’ That could be your call, too, Squeaky Pie, because you’re sweet.”

I felt calmer and climbed to the top of my cage. 

“The Black Throated Blue Warbler sings ‘I’m so la-zee.’ That’s how I feel today,” I said.

I heard the Black Throated last spring.

“You’re so funny, Squeaks,” said Momanita. 

She’s right. I have quite the sense of humor.

“The Eastern Towhee sings ‘Drink your tea!’ Then the American Goldfinch calls about snacks with ‘potato chips and then they dip.’”

The American Goldfinch sang about snacks.

“I’m thinking about these different bird calls, Squeaks. Then I’m thinking about human words. The tone of human words can cause fear just like the owl calls.”

“I don’t want to hear those TERROR BIRDS again!

“Human words can calm like the Yellow Warbler’s ‘sweet’ call.”

Momanita rubbed my neck in the spot I liked the best.

“Words can hurt or help. I’ll remember to speak more words that help,” said Momanita.

And then she did. 

Time for another snack.

“It’s time for a snack, Squeaks. You can have another Wheat Chex.”

The King Rail’s call is “Hip, hip hoorah” and I agree!

To other hootmans this sounded like squeals and whistles, but not to Momanita. She MOSTLY understood cockatiel speak. I MOSTLY understood hootman talk.

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