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by Jeff Wilkin

Type A To Z

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Features reporter Jeff Wilkin on pop culture

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This week, state troopers are supposed to be watching for drivers who aren’t wearing their seat belts. They’re supposed to be watching for motorists who text and turn all the time.

I wish someone would do something about all this “tweeting” in my Albany neighborhood. But all is lost, at least for the next three months or so.

As long as there have been trees, there have been birds living in trees. There are a bunch of both around my damn house.

Every morning at about 4 a.m., the sparrows, cardinals, blue jays and other assorted grackles are up and at ’em. It’s like a college party — loud, shrill, urgent tweets and calls. Or it’s like a remake of “The Birds,” Al Hitchcock’s idea about birds taking over the world.

It doesn’t sound so far-fetched as dawn approaches in my neighborhood. Light sleepers who still have another three hours of sleep coming — light sleepers like me — are often wide awake for the concerts.

The last couple of days have been particularly annoying. I took my winter storm windows off the front bedrooms last weekend, and in May and June I sleep with the windows wide open. With the storms on, it turned down the volume in Birdland a little bit. Now, with the screen windows on, I’ve got these flying bums in Sensurround (that was the theater sound gimmick they used for “Earthquake,” the movie from 1974. I never pass up chances to slip in obscure 1970s pop
culture references to this obscure blog).

I never pass up a chance to rail against summer, either. I like drinking Coors Lights in the back yard on a nice summer night as much as the next guy, but don’t think it’s worth the bugs, heat and noise that come with such a pleasant experience.

Eventually, when the weather really gets hot and the second floor of my Albany stronghold hits 90 degrees or so, I’ll put my air conditioner back on duty in the bedroom. The sound will drown out the morning yak-fest, but will also deprive me of evening thunderstorms — and after Coors Lights in the backyard and cooking out cheeseburgers, they’re the best parts of summer.

The worst is still coming for the morning concerts. I haven’t detected any tenor or soprano crows yet, but it’s only a matter of time before these sons of anarchy move into the maples and willows around my street. Even people who like bird voices can’t appreciate the callow call of the crow, clown prince of the bird empire. Talk about a flyer who has absolutely nothing going for him. At least cardinals have color. At least Orioles are leading the American League East.

Squirrels and cats are also part of the population on my street. I think both parties are afraid of taking on anyone with a wing and a claw. So I have no luck with mercenaries.

Around mid-September, the birds seem to be talking a little less. I’m not sure if they’re are fewer of them, or if they’re starting to leave town. By October, it’s back to quiet mornings. And by winter, I have peace like you get in a cemetery.

For now, I’m stuck with audibles from the aviary. Our nature and environment expert, Margaret Hartley, recently wrote about hawks and eagles that have swooped into her Adirondack farm complex and flown off with young hens. Kind of a sneaky thing to do.

I wish some of Margaret’s predators would vacation in my neck of the woods. They would be flying back north about 25 pounds heavier, after the all-you-can-eat bird buffet on Beacon Avenue. I’d settle for reductions in just the crow and blue jay populations.

Probably not going to happen. I’m going to either put in ear plugs ..... or start singing along.

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June 25, 2012
5:57 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Just be thankful you can actually hear the some point you might no be able to hear them anymore...

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