Lakeside notes

Lake Erie sunrise

Part of me is still in Lakeside, Ohio. The Midwest Birding Symposium which took place there September 15-18 was great fun, filled with a lot of nice people, interesting presentations, and a delightful atmosphere. We went out looking for birds every morning. The Bach A Minor English Suite would not leave me alone as we walked around the trails. As I reviewed the prelude in my head, I noticed my brain would stay stuck on whichever part enhanced the notes the birds were singing.

Not that I was constantly running the experiment, but later Saturday afternoon I was standing in line to ask Louise Zemaitis a question after her excellent presentation on birding by habitat (she had intrigued me when she said she was surprised there were no fish crows in the area; I didn’t even know fish crows were this far north and she told me they are in Pennsylvania, so I live in hope), and there were old big band jazz tunes playing softly in the background after her talk, before the next presentation. I found myself listening to the conversations ahead of me change seamlessly from the key one song was in (G major) to the next song (E-flat major). Both keys share G so it’s not a big stretch but it was fun to listen to the pitch of the voices modulate. Of course I put that away when I actually got to talk to Louise. I’m trying not to be annoying and nerdy about this, but sometimes I wonder if anyone else pays attention to what key anything is in.

When I got home fairly late Sunday night, my birds were silent, pretty much as I had predicted. They get really quiet before I leave, and then when I come home, I get the silent treatment until I settle down into something they can relate to, like running water in the kitchen sink, messing around in the kitchen. Maybe they are on guard until they are sure I’m really back for good. Fabrizio was the first one to break the silence, singing his little song. Then I heard a budgie chirp or two and we were off and running, into the night, cleaning the house. As much of a chore as it is, I like cleaning the birds’ room because it’s so dirty I feel like I’m accomplishing something, but more because I get caught up with the birds and how they’re doing. They know the routine, so the ritual should have reassured anybody who had doubts about whether I was staying home.