As I sit here on my screened in porch this morning I hear the varied songs of my feathered friends. When I hear one near me in an effort to be friendly I attempt to imitate his message. He replies and then I mimic his sounds. Back and forth we go. Suddenly I begin to think about the consequences of this mimicry.
The Warbled Thoughts Begin
What are my poor imitations telling that poor bird? What if the warbler is looking for a mate and my whistles are telling him that he’s a real loser of a bird? What if I am making male bird sounds back to a male bird? What is he thinking?
Worse still, what if I am telling some male bird, ” Come on over Big Boy!? ” So he flies over to where I sit and instead of a gorgeous, feathered female, he sees a lumpy, featherless, huge human? What if he is so lovesick and disappointed that he attacks his reflection in a window somewhere and dies, pining for his lost love. I would be sad to have done that to a sweet little bird.
Dangers of Mimic Warbling
It is a good thing that I sit in a screened in porch. What if I was toying with the likes of a hawk, making love songs of a tasty sparrow and that hawk was very hungry?? Wouldn’t he be pretty angry or frustrated that there is no food where the bird sounds were emitted from? He might be pretty frustrated that I led him on with my sweet sounding chirps and then come after me!
And what about sea gulls at the beach? I would never try to imitate the sounds they make. I could accidentally summon them to think there was a huge cache of food waiting for them. Boy that could be a problem if there were as many as there are in the next picture. Besides you know what gulls do when they fly over you sometimes. It’s not very nice!
Don’t Be Rude
I used to imitate the call of the Bobwhite across a field. But was surprised at the bird’s tenacity in responding. Finally I gave up, having other things to do and left him wondering, “What a rude bird to lead me on and then stop!”
We need to be polite and thoughtful as we communicate with our avian friends and just quietly listen and be in awe of their warbling, least we cause damage. I am sure their messages are important to them or other birds of their kind.
Of course actually none of my bird calls would ever be mistaken for the real thing, so there is really not a problem for me. But again there are professional bird callers. I wonder what they say or if they know what they are saying to the birds.