Birds

Birds are put on the Trail to keep hikers from sleeping.

From before dawn to well after sunset and into the night, birds create an ongoing racket. Their barely veiled ambition is to drive hikers mad.

I know. Birds, they are so cute and fluffy. You want to hug them. 

White throated sparrows, whippoorwills, every one of them. Each flying around, re-marking their territory in throaty blasts of song, one singing over another in constant discordance. Sing sing sing. Who cares if its 4 AM, mark your territory! If you don’t, some other song-crazed bird will eat your bugs and start singing there instead of you.

The worst are wood thrush. It has a four part song, part one - then two - then three - then finally four. Intricate, each part different, each annoying. It will sit in a tree and go through this routine about 10 to 300 times, then fly 10 feet and start over. For an hour and a half, at most 100 feet from my tent at any time. Starting around sun down, the time any self respecting hiker is trying to get settled in for the night. And don’t worry if you missed, they like to start about an hour before dawn with the same racket.

Down south its barred owls. They don’t have the soft woo-woo you might expect from an owl; they sound like something between a deranged monkey and the devil singing Celine Dion. Click the link and listen to “Pair caterwauling”. Imagine that starting at 10 PM and continuing to 4 AM. Hopefully they don’t find a rabbit, because then you get to hear the rabbit scream as the owls yell at it.

I’d would toss a rock at them but my legs hurt, and the sleeping bag is too nice and warm. Obnoxious birds.

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