The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

2008.06.18 Those early-morning birds

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I awoke early one day last week, listened to the boisterous birds for a while and finally got up, almost an hour before necessary.

I went downstairs, woke up the computer and noticed an e-mail from a friend that had only recently arrived. I wrote back asking why she, a teacher, was up before 6 a.m. now that school was out.

Her reply was simple: “I am up at 6 a.m. in the summer. The birds are too loud.”

I told her I had been listening to birds, too. There’s the general cacophony going on and then all of a sudden a really raucous robin takes over. It doesn’t seem to be any closer to my bedroom than the others. It just really wants to make its point and yell it out.

It makes me think about bird personalities, how each bird out there must be a little different than the others. Is that too much for you to accept? A bird-brain is a bird-brain? You can see the differences in your pets; why not in the remainder of the animal kingdom? Some ants walk away, others really scramble. And so forth.

I mentioned the bird personality thing to my friend who wrote back: “I was listening to the same bird making similar but slightly different calls over the course of 20 minutes. I was wondering if it was saying something specific over and over or if it was shouting out a conversation...or if it was just chirping like the small-minded beast that it is.”

I knew just what she was talking about. I do a fair amount of early-morning bird listening and I often wonder what’s going on out there.

For example, just who is the real Early Bird? Is it the same robin every morning that breaks out first in my neighborhood? It’s before daylight. What’s the use of singing in the dark? No one else seems to be awake. You’re not going to hunt for worms in the dark. Too dangerous.

How do the birds decide when it’s time to start? When it’s time to quit? When does that last robin sound in the evening? Is that really boisterous one the first one asleep or the last one to call out?

From what I can recall, it’s always the robins who are first in the morning. By 6 a.m., they’ve quieted down somewhat. You can still hear a few of them around the neighborhood, but it’s a different, more relaxed tone. None of the early-morning crowing.

Then the sparrows take over. It’s chirping rather than singing. I don’t hear much of anything from the cardinals and jays. I wonder if they sleep in.

The special treat is the wren talk. They’re so musical. Such skilled vocalists. Now there’s a bird that’s really interesting to follow. How could anyone mind getting awakened by a wren?

A friend from Plymouth says this about wren talk: “The wren in our immediate vicinity sings so many varieties in speed, volume and position, one following another instantly.  This morning I was out about 6 and he was at the tip of the spruce across the street, letting loose with such force you’d think the daylight depended on him alone.”

A friend in the country gets a different chorus every morning. Brown thrashers, cedar waxwings, mockingbirds, warblers, chickadees, nuthatches, rose-breasted grossbeaks, bob-o-links, meadowlarks, redwings, crows, sandhill cranes and grackles.

Oh yes, we have the grackles. People don’t like that bird very much, but it is entertaining to hear a new tone of voice emerge when a parent flies to the nest. The kids talk differently.

I was sitting and listening on the front porch last evening. The bird world was growing calm. There were some sparrows chirping and doves calling. The mourning dove has such a strange call. There was one nearby and then another farther away and two or three others in the distance.

The robins must be the first of the day and the last at night. They’re members of the thrush family and their night call sometimes resembles the amazing sound of the wood thrush.

But the topic here was morning birds so I asked my wife—who is certainly not a morning bird—if she hears them.

No question about it. She’s not pleased. Not even a wren catches her fancy.

“I want to throw a pillow at the window,” she said.

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