Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Nature Notes by Penny Royal

A Songthrush

A Songthrush

In an early spell of sunny weather, spring is getting under way. Dawn and evening chorus are almost full strength, and even from the Village Voice office we heard a chaffinch and a great tit singing outside.
    “Here again (she said) is March the third,
     And twelve hours singing for the bird,
     Twixt dawn and dusk, from half-past six
     To half-past six, never unheard.”
                 (Edward Thomas “March the Third”)
Listening to the chorus in Alexandra Park is a treat. There’s a surprising number of thrushes there, each defining his territory with boundaries of song. Seemingly ethereal, beautiful to the ear, but efficient and purposeful, these “pure thrush words” mark out a pattern of boundaries as definite as that on an ordnance survey map. Superimposed above and beneath are territorial boundaries of other species. If it were possible to see it as a visual pattern, it would be extraordinarily complex.
Crucial as it is for birds, we humans can enjoy it purely as music, picking out individual singers one at a time or just luxuriating in the crescendo of bird voices.

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