Friday, June 17, 2011

The power of pishing.

Nearing the solstice, White-crowned Sparrows start singing at about 4:30 AM, and pretty much keep singing until dusk. Listen here (and enjoy a somewhat harsh critique of the White-crowned Sparrow repertoire). They sing from rooftops, treetops and telephone pole tops.  They're always there.  Just look up.

I have started wondering why they're still singing.  They, at least some, have already produced a brood.  Mission Accomplished.  Maybe that's what they're singing about.

For the past several days there has been a fledged brood of three, along with a parent (Momma?) bustling about in my garden shrubbery.  I can hear them scratching and chipping and every so often they pop out, as seen above.  Then they disappear again.  I decided to use a sneaky human trick.  I pished.

Momma immediately emerged, chipping angrily.  She flew up to the roof of the garage.

She called to her young, and they called back, remaining hidden though, except for one

who flew up into an elderberry and chipped back at Momma.

Such is the power of pishing.  I then felt a tad bad about having pished. There was really no need to agitate a bird family.   But that's the thing about pishing.  Knowing its power, sometimes you just pish, to see what will happen.

I might feel worse if they didn't wake me up at 4:30 AM.


Seagull Steve said...

Its so hard to predict what a good pish will do. Half the time it sends birds fleeing for cover. And then there is group pishing, which just looks so ridiculous that I cant bring myself to participate.

Hugh said...

Seagull, That's true. Certain birds are very anti-pish. I generally only pish solo.

Urban Wild said...

Pishing often works VERY well on Bewick's Wrens. They cannot resist finding out who is trespassing in their 'hood.

biobabbler said...

hm. I heard pishing works better on the east coast (I SWEAR I heard this). I do it pretty seldom. Agreed re: feeling silly.

Thoughts re: why still sing: still defending territory and their own ration of bugs and other tasty resources plus don't-mess-with-us-or-our-adorable-brood-or-we'll-bust-out-a-can-of-whop-rump.

Just a thought. =) Again, delightful sequence!! =) You are the master of the 4 photo saga.

Kim and Victoria said...

Well I think the song is pleasant, although I wouldn't think so at 4:30AM. Love the song sparrows around here.
Never heard of pishing before.