Robin, you are not a nightjar.

A friend of mine, living in the Bay Area, has e-mailed me a brief audio clip of a robin that’s been harassing him at all hours. The e-mail was entitled “Cheeping bugger at 3:20AM.” Rather says it all, doesn’t it? And here’s the clip:

Cheepy bugger

This robin seems confused. Nothing ever answers it; no other robins are awake. And yet it calls, monotonously, outside his window, chipping into his sleep with its cheery trills. I suppose I can’t grouse too hard about my six o’clock gulls: at least they wait for daylight. This thing must be chirping into the dark.

On another note entirely, there’s something about tiny birds that makes them look slightly aggressive, even when they’re only waiting for me to move, so they can get at the feeder. I think it’s their beaks. They’re so pointy. These little birds, they stand and stare, with their sharp bits poked out: it’s as if they’re about to launch themselves, dart-like, at your eyes. Or maybe it’s the way they puff themselves up, and tilt their heads so their gaze locks with yours. Or the way they sit perfectly still, nothing stirring but the wind in their feathers. Or their inky little pupils, their sharp claws, their harsh scolding…at any rate, here are some tiny birds:

This is a sparrow of ordinary size and proportion, puffed up and contorted into a strange, blowfishy stance.  Very frightening, sparrow.  You're the man.

This is a sparrow of ordinary size and proportion, puffed up and contorted into a strange, blowfishy stance. Very frightening, sparrow. You’re the man.

Even its strident little peeps seem to contain a challenge!  Yeah, peep you, too, bird.

Even its strident little peeps seem to contain a challenge! Yeah, peep you, too, bird.

I had to post this, despite its mediocrity:  my bird tongue collection needed a chickadee.  (I wish the 'dees would pop round a bit later.  They always show up in the morning, when they're horribly backlit.  What a pain.)

I had to post this, despite its mediocrity: my bird tongue collection needed a chickadee. (I wish the ‘dees would pop round a bit later. They always show up in the morning, when they’re horribly backlit. What a pain.)

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