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.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • 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.

2002.07.17 Waking with the birds

Written by David Green.

BY DAVID GREEN

Friday, July 5, approximately 5:30 a.m. Half asleep in a tent in the back yard of my sister’s cottage. Suddenly I’m torn awake by the sound of a bird overhead.

It catches me by surprise. It’s a mourning dove. One loud and nearby call and then nothing more. That’s it. The first bird of the morning.

Does this sound right to the rest of you early risers who awaken easily to the sound of birds at daybreak? A mourning dove?

Doves have such a distinctive call. A plaintive cooing that seemed so familiar and yet a little strange that morning. Ever since the infamous 5-9 Day of 2000, when our back yard spruce went down in the storm, we haven’t had a dove family in the yard. I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve heard one up close.

It’s the male that gives the characteristic mourning call. He was probably just defending his territory, and I certainly wasn’t challenging it.

A dove fact: Unlike other birds who take a little water and tilt back their heads to drink, the dove can sip it up through the beak. It leaves its bill right in the water while it drinks.

Approximately 5:35 a.m. Now the robins come alive. This is what I’m accustomed to hearing early in the morning. Robins have a very characteristic morning voice—actually about the same as their late evening voice. It’s much different from the usual daytime talking. It’s not really a song as much as a lot of short, quick, musical notes.

On the mornings when I wake up early and am unable to get back to sleep, that first robin lets me know that I’m going to be tired later in the day. It tells me: “It’s too late now. Morning is here, it’s getting light.”

A robin fact: The female is the nest builder. She makes a cup-shaped nest that has an outer foundation of long grass, twigs, paper and feathers woven together. The inner bowl of the nest is lined with mud and smeared with her breast. Later, softer material is added to cushion the eggs.

Probably about 5:50 a.m. Now the remainder have joined in. It’s all the little guys, sparrows, I suppose. It’s getting louder out there now. There’s no more sleeping with all of that going on.

It sounds as though there are dozens in the area. I’m assuming they’re house sparrows, which aren’t really sparrows at all. They’re weaver finches. They get pretty aggressive when they’re protecting their territory, and that means they get pretty noisy, which they’re doing as I lay in the tent.

Sparrow fact: These birds are everywhere, but only for last 120 years. A classic case of human intervention gone awry, the house sparrow was introduced to this country in 1851 when a hundred birds were released in Brooklyn, NY.

Approximately 6:15 a.m. If I thought it was loud before, I was mistaken. There are a lot of blue jays living in that neighborhood and they’re all having a morning brawl in the pine trees near the tent.

They might seem like bullies, but there’s a lot to like about a jay. The color is stunning, the variety of calls is most entertaining, and they’re just a lot of fun to watch.

A blue jay fact: Blue jays are good at imitating the call of a hawk. They often give it when a hawk is circling overhead.

Those are morning stories and there’s room for one from the evening.

May 1971, Leelanau Peninsula. A quiet pine woods at dusk, back from the shore of Lake Michigan. A bird calls. It almost sounds electric. It’s a hermit thrush.  It’s simply one of the most amazing sounds to hear in an evening woods. There’s nothing else like it.

Summer is only half over. There’s still time for vacationing, still time to wake up somewhere in a tent. When you’re out there, don’t forget to listen to the birds. They have some very interesting things to say.

    – July 17, 2002

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