And so it comes every year, but I still kind of dread it. That single time where you go out into your regular, favorite birding spot and you can hear…silence or silence with crickets, and no songs from the Thrushes, Buntings, Towhees and Warblers. Summer for me at least is officially over. This is my first sign of fall, not the first brown crunchy leaf I step on.
The last half of August this year, I found myself multi – tasking fun. Meaning, birding and trail running. in the same 1.5 mile stretch of woods. What a great way to unwind after work. So, I knew it was coming, I am running up a hill at 5Pm and I hear almost nothing. Until, one last straggler brought a huge smile to my face, an Eastern Wood Pee Wee, doing the famous one not up and one note down song. I like to say it asks a question and answers it. There are probably some good statistics to back up my observance that I notice Pee Wee’s come late and stay late? If you have large deep woods in the Northeast US, please leave a comment, if you have noticed this too.
And if you are like me at all, (God, help you in this case!) certain bird songs will unbury specific memories. The Pee Wee reminds me of summer camping with my family when I was in grade school in the Adirondack mountains. A place called Fish Creek Lake was a perfect Eastern Pee Wee habitat.
I have been back to my favorite bird spot and the Pee Wees have finally migrated South and the woods were eeringly silent, until a pack of Blue Jays started screaming from 4 different spots I can hear them say “We got our woods back, and it’s all about US now!” They were probably happy the crazy “tourists” with binoculars that invade their space are gone for another season. Or maybe they are screaming “We are on page 208 of Eastern Birds – Peterson Field Guides. ”and we are here all year!”
**Update** Sept 3rd and the Pee Wee’s are still here in Harrisburg Pa. No signs of other migrant songbirds.