Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: What could the birds be saying?

Layout 1 (Page 1)Mornings in town are much different than mornings out here in the wilds of Lake Tschida. And, not having much of a life, I’ve actually done some research on this hypothesis, and you’re about to hear more about this than you probably wanted to know, so hang on.

Over the years I’ve evidently ingrained the habit of waking up by 6 a.m. Central Standard Time no matter where I am in the world. This is okay unless you’re on the West Coast, where 6 a.m. Central Time is 4 a.m. Pacific Time, which is a bit early for most folks no matter where you are in the world.

Anyway, whether I’m in town or lost out here in the wilds each morning I rise, find a cup of coffee and poke my nose outside to see if the world survived the night. Mornings in town are fairly quiet except for the trains, traffic, sirens, dogs barking, but if you listen closely you may hear a few birds chortling.

In the wilds the birds usually wake me up with their cacophony. This morning I grabbed my coffee and took a chair on the front deck and listened. Doves were cooing to each other, one behind me, one to the west, one to the east, and they seemed to be putting their day in order. Then a pheasant, then a turkey, then a swallow, then a chickadee (chick-a-dee-deeing), a wren (for little guys they’re really loud), a gold finch, and 10 other birds that made me think I need to get a book on birds.

The chirping, chortling, cooing, beeps, toots, peeps and such overwhelmed anything else going on. I began to wonder what they were all talking about. I concluded that some were predicting the weather, others were planning their day, some were talking about the old guy sitting on his deck where they usually poop a lot, and some were obviously just making noise in hopes that they added something to the cacophony.

Maybe all of them were just saying, “Hey world I’m still here and ready to take on another day.” Maybe that’s kinda like me and my coffee as I poke my nose into the world and raise my cup and in my own way say the same thing.

Mornings are my best time of day and each day is like being handed another gift, and unlike most of us the birds seem to be better at celebrating this than you and I are.

Most folks drag their butts out of bed, head to the head to shower and such before lumbering to the coffee maker, finding the paper, letting the dog out, and sitting down while waiting for the toast. Not too many of us chortle when we get up – most of us grumble, many of us just groan and roll over when the alarm goes off. Some of us grumble all the way to work and all through the day… and unlike the birds way too many of us seem to be mad that we had to get up and take on another day.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the birds are saying, “Damn, we’ve been forced into living through another day and how much longer will I have to suffer around here.”

I’m not complaining about the birds waking me up out here in the wild; rather, I’d like to thank them for reminding me that both of us have been granted the gift of another day… “Yahoo, I’m here and so are you.” Chortle, chirp, coo-coo, chicka-dee-dee-dee, whoop-whoop… and geez, I hope I get to hear all this stuff again tomorrow…

Here’s hoping that you’re happy to be here too…