A Song for
My fiftieth high school reunion was on April 6, 2013. Everyone else in my household was away for the weekend, so I took the dogs with
me to the gathering in North Myrtle Beach, SC. On the way up Highway 17 we stopped by the Santee Coastal Reserve,
perhaps the best-managed longleaf pine system I know of. My target was Bachman's Sparrow, which is common there because the pine-grass
savanna is just what it likes. I was not disappointed. I found this bird
singing at eye level and got a good recording, my first ever of this species.
During my residency in Charleston in the 1990s I did not get acquainted with this bird of the pine savannas. But while
I was away I read Don Kroodsma's charming account of their singing in Singing Life of Birds (2005). When I came back I was ready.
Now I cannot resist recording them every spring.
As you watch the sonogram stream by, see if you can figure out how they organize a singing performance. It's rather intricate. To confirm your suspicions,
go here. And you may hear the dogs if you listen carefully.