Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2003, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Bird Talk

    W. C. McCanse's article on bird talk was very interesting reading. Mr. McCanse asked Ozarkians to tell what they think birds are saying.
    I have been a bird lover as far back as I can remember. Nothing gives me a lift quite like the songs of birds. My father taught me much about birds and their habits. We always listened to see what they were saying. To me a little wren says, "I'm building me a swe-et little nest."
    When we were young we would help plant corn in the spring. A red bird would seem to say, "Drop one, pick up two." Our father used to repeat a little verse about the Bob White, "Bob White, is your wheat ripe? No, not quite ... Will it be tomorrow night? Yes, it might."
    Birds are mentioned through the Bible. I believe the raven is the first named bird. It was sent out of the ark ... also the dove. Sparrows and eagles are mentioned, too.
    The song of the dove always makes me sad. My grandmother would say, on hearing the first dove in the spring, that our next move would be in the direction the dove was singing.
    It also was said that the one who heard the first whip-poor-will would have to chop the wood for that summer. When jaybirds would sing they foretold rain.
    Father always would fix a box for the martins. He said they would fight the hawks.
    It is very fascinating to watch birds hunting things for their nests. It is amazing how they build so wind won't toss the nests out.
    I have kept feed out for the birds all winter. It is a wonderful sight to watch them eat and flit about.
    We should be thankful that we can see and hear the joyous songs of the birds.

Mellie Cole

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