a childhood saved

Morning Notes

During the summer of 1973, when I was 14 years old, I got up very early on four occasions to write down the order in which different species of birds arose and began singing. I've transcribed those notes here; you can see a scan of one of the originals as well.


July 6, 1973
Place: Our property, near lake.
Weather: Quite cool, around 64°F. Good strong breeze. Clear sky.
Time: 4:35 am - 5:50 am

4:40 am: Robin awakes, gives alarm call then sings.

4:45: Many more robins calling; raccoons hunting along shore cry out.

4:46: Wood thrush sings.

4:47: Robins increase greatly, more wood thrushes wake. Bats still fly overhead, bullfrogs not calling frequently anymore, green frogs taking over.

4:48: Wood pewee sings.

4:50: Pewee sings again, bats still flying, robin chorus very loud.

4:53: Song sparrow sings, breeze stops.

4:55: Bats more common

4:58: Breeze only occasional now, raccoons still around lake—if I want to see them I can, getting quite light.

4:59: House wren sings—only about the last half of his usual song.

5:00: Just saw one of the raccoons, he ran right in front of me, about 25 feet away.

5:02: Crow calls, raccoons again call.

5:03: More song sparrows singing.

5:04: Redwing wakes up, alarm call.

5:05: More redwings

5:06: Crow calls again.

5:08: Catbird sings.

5:09: Mourning dove sings, crow keeps calling.

5:11: Several crows fly around, four of them in all, with one in lead.

5:13: Redwing finally sings—they've been giving their alarm notes. Redwing glides down toward lake.

5:15: Raccoon comes out, shakes himself, comes toward me, sniffs and runs back into cover. He just did this before, got up, looked around, spotted me, ran into cover.

5:18: 'Coon comes out for another sniff.

5:19: 'Coon sneaks into different cover, another one does too.

5:20: 'Coons head for woods at a face pace. Baby crow (actually immature) calls. Getting quite light. Robin chorus has stopped, now only redwings, wood thrushes, and song sparrows singing. Also catbirds.

5:24: Chimney swift flies overhead.

5:26: More chimney swifts flying.

5:27: House sparrows calling, redwings flying around.

5:28: Robin calls, doesn't sing.

5:30: Birds all active now, flying around, fighting, looking for food, etc.

5:33: More pewees are singing, adding to general confusion. Chickadees start singing their whistled pee-eeee.

5:36: Two grackles flying north, deadline course.

5:37: Cardinal starts singing.

5:40: Red-bellied woodpecker calls several times.

5:41: Three more grackles flying north.

5:42: Flicker flies away.

5:45: Ovenbird calls from woods.

5:46: One bullfrog sings, one robin sings also, whole bird chorus dies down.

5:48: More grackles flying north, I think there's a big roost to the south of us. More chickadees whistling and calling.

5:50: Sunrise hits top of trees, must go now.

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