Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Maybe I Should Get a Restraining Order

You might think, what with living next door to a BN&SF mainline and in close proximity to Disneyland and their nightly fireworks, that we have a level of sound saturation here at Hacienda Woody. The trains rumble through at more or less regular intervals, day or night. It's not uncommon for me to look up from my computer and see key pieces of furniture shaking as if we were having a minor temblor. First thing I do anymore is listen for that deep three-octaves-low rumble that tells me whether it's a freight or passenger consist passing by. The Big D, on the other hand, tosses their boomers high in the sky every night on a schedule. "9:30, Dear." "Ayup, thar she blows." The booms last between 15 and 25 minutes depending on season.

Then there's the freeway that sits a mere half mile from here, plus having our park abut one of the more active streets in Orange County at certain parts of the day. We're also in a construction zone at the moment, as they attempt to build an overpass for Imperial Highway on one side of us, and construct a power station across the street on another side.

Sound saturation is putting it mildly.

As noisy as things get around here, though, none of them hold a candle to a rather diminuitive fellow who resides immediately behind us. Every night at just past midnight, this character fills his lungs and begins an all-night serenade that will fade only when the first light of dawn approaches. These gratuitous concerts run for nearly seven hours without intermission or, seemingly, any level of discomfort on the part of the performer.

It used to be mildly annoying when he started this nonsense a year ago. Mrs. Woody and I are not always the best of sleepers, and when the weather is hot enough in the summer months it doesn't take much to wake us. This guy can do that. I used to harbor secret fantasies about getting a pellet gun and letting the guy have it right between the eyes, but a couple of things prevent me:

I don't really want any guns in the house.

My intended victim is probably protected by the Wildlife Protection Act.

When I grew up I harbored certain expectations about wildlife. During the day I figured the more interesting animals were in hiding from predators and rambunctious kids like myself. At night I figured I was safe and snug in my house, and once asleep wouldn't have to give them another thought. This was especially true of the various birds that roamed our neighborhood throughout the day. They were a noisy bunch but always seemed to tone it down at night so the crickets could have their say. And, as I say, I could safely ignore them in any case.

Whatever species of bird this character may be, he is the noisiest neighbor I've ever had. It's probably as much because after midnight sound really seems to carry, but this guy is LOUD. He runs through just about his entire repertoire every night. He may actually run through it multiple times. I don't know, because I've finally gotten to the point where I can generally consign him to that region of white noise that my ears create more and more as I get older. On a night like tonight, though, when everyone with an ounce of sanity is asleep and the other night noises are relatively low, I get the feeling this warbler (or whatever he is) can be heard as far away as Guam.

Not being a birder of any kind, I have absolutely no idea whether this is normal behavior for this bird or not. Don't really care, to be honest. All I know is that he is, above all, a gifted performer. Although, if he's trying to find a mate, I might suggest he try doing this during the day. Keeping the gals awake all night may not be conducive to romance.

The other possibility is that his internal clock is completely out of whack. Unless he's simply drowning everyone else out, I hear no other birds anywhere near here anytime after dark. This is in keeping with my own concept of nature as it applies to darkness, and this guy is like a Flat-Earther trying to convince a bunch of rocket scientists that they're full of hooey. I don't expect he's got much of an audience.

Except for the inhabitants of Hacienda Woody, who desperately need to get some sleep tonight.

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