Friday, May 11, 2007
Bird Language-Learning your A, B, Dees
There has been a young chickadee in our garden lately. I can tell it's young because it could say "Chicka" but it didn't seem to know how to "Dee," which is the chickadee early warning system. My cat Dusty is worth about 3 Dees when she comes outside. I only get 2 Dees, but I fill the feeders. It was pretty simple to train this young bird to my hand. A few days later, we saw it with a second chickadee. We think it was a parent. All that one said was "Dee! Dee! Dee!" as if it were training the young one. Now, I don't think I rated the 3 Dees, but I was out with all of my kids, so I guess the four of us together are worth one cat.
Can you imagine the dialogue? We did.
"No, dear, it's Dee, Dee, Dee. Now you try."
"Like this? Dee!"
"That's close, sweetie, but there are 4 humans here, so you really need to let us know with a Dee, Dee, Dee!"
Did you know that nuthatches can speak chickadee? They learned the chickadee's song and react if there's a danger. The more Dees, the greater the danger.
And so another chapter of "You can learn a lot from watching animals." Today's lesson: It's always good to learn a second language.