cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
[personal profile] cedarmyna
We are awakened at sunrise by the bird
sitting on the eave by our window
picking out first one bizarre cackle, then another

not really what you could call birdsong
but more melodic than any other available in Sydney.

B. groans and stuffs his head in a pillow: "Mynas.
They're going to build a nest there, you know."

"I kind of like it," I say,
and he mutters, "That's just because you haven't
had to hear them your whole life."

Which is true enough, in its own way. I don't like mynas
because I find them new and interesting; I like them
because I find them reassuringly familiar.
Sydney has a dearth of birds.

Where I come from there are dozens of songbirds:
the ones that sings whole melodies (cardinals,
bluebirds, titmice, wrens, sparrows,
goldfinches, red finches, purple finches)
the ones that sing one note (robins, grackles, starlings)
the ones that sing their names (chickadees,
bobwhites, whip-poor-wills), the ones that sing
each others' names (catbirds, thrashers, mockingbirds),
the ones whose names I don't know.

Here there is the silent, stalking ibis; the glowering magpie;
the screaming cockatoo; the "laughing" kookaburra (who never laughs
at all, in my experience). And the myna, the mockingbird
of the Antipodes, busily building a nest outside my window
and making enough noise to fill the city,
as if determined to convince me my back garden
contains all manner of exotic and exciting flying fauna
as long as I never try to see it.

February 2011

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