[CT Birds] Magnolia Warbler, Redstart, Blackburnian - Bethany

David F Provencher (Generation - 4) david.f.provencher at dom.com
Sat May 17 11:07:35 EDT 2014

Excellent Steve! Of course since we humans base our concept of song on mathematical progressions in essence, we are biased to what sounds like song to us. I bet Swallows sound perfectly lovely and alluring to one another! As for Ovid, wonder what he would have come up with to explain the song of Yellow-headed Blackbirds? Probably would have involved torture...


Dave Provencher

-----Original Message-----
Subject: [CT Birds] Magnolia Warbler, Redstart, Blackburnian - Bethany

Plenty of Barn Swallows chattering away, back at the Airport fields since at least May 3.  They always remind me of that objective, scientific reason why Barn Swallows can't sing.  

In ancient Greece when Philomela was horribly assaulted by her brother in law King Tereus, she remained defiant, and threatened to tell her sister (Tereus' wife) Procne.  Tereus cut out her tongue, but Philomela wove a tapestry, telling the tale to Procne.  The two sisters enacted an equally nasty revenge on Tereus, and after, when Tereus was just about to catch and kill the two sisters, the gods intervened and turned them into birds (Philomela a Swallow, Procne a mournful nightingale).  

So swallows, descended from the tongue-less Philomela, can only chatter.

It's in Ovid (and the internet) so it must be true...

Steve Mayo

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