Was it a goatsucker?

The white-throated sparrows are moving through. They’re one of the few birds that sings while migrating. In this case it’s the “Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody,” or if you’re a Canuck, “Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.”

I also saw a cedar waxwing this morning and heard some other bird that sounded like a goat — “baa-a-a-a-a-a.” There are a few birds around with a trill call — dark-eyed juncos (also sing occasionally while migrating) and chipping sparrows — but they’re too melodic and long. Guess I’ll have to bring the binoculars along tomorrow and see if it sings again.

Sure is nice to be able to look up bird songs on the Internet. When I learned them I used cassette tapes of Peterson’s field guide. It required lots of fast-forward and reversing to find the right bird.

There is a class of birds, the nightjars, sometimes called “goatsuckers” because of ancient myths that they sucked milk from goats. Around here, we have nighthawks and an occasional whippoorwill, but I reckon it was something else.


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