[CT Birds] Reading 7

Dennis Varza dennisvz at optonline.net
Mon Aug 22 08:01:42 EDT 2011

Regarding the Great Horned Owl “Screech”
It appears that they do make such a noise. It seems that it is used  
to communicate between parents and young, hence it is not often heard.

Reading 7
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo scarcely deserves a position with the  
songsters, for his note is almost entirely without pitch. His near  
relative the Balck-billed Cuckoo is by far the better singer;  
nevertheless, the Yellow-billed’s attempts at rythm are not without  
merit, for he can give us a ritardanto (ritardano a gradual decrease  
in tempo) as perfect as that of the Chat.

There is very little to say about the Yellow-bill’s music—perhapse  
the less said the better. Mr. Cheney sums up the matter in these few  
words.: “The Yellow-breasted Chat exhibits the same rhythmic  
peculiarity in his chattings, and so does the Woodpecker drumming on  
a board or dry limb for the mere sound of it; but in quality nothing  
can be compared with the slopping performance, unless it be that of  
the loose-mouthed hound lapping from a pan of milk.” It is evident  
that no one can improve on that description,

It begins with a series of gurgling sounds which rapidly merge into  
one another, and then runs down in a slower and slower succession of  
syllables sounding like cowlp, cowlp, cowlp, cowlp, cowlp. It is a  
perfect ritardando which could not be excelled by the Chat himself  
who is an expert at that sort of thing.

(Personal note: I have found that imitating the clucking sound by  
clicking one’s tongue often, not always, causes the bird to show  

Dennis Varza

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