Friday, April 2, 2010

When my Grandma Cox was little, her father used to tell her that the call of the meadowlark was "El-ner's a pretty little girl! El-ner's a pretty little girl!" (Elner being Grandma's first name.)

My own Papa told me this last night as we were chatting; he was talking about how he had just found out that day that a Killdeer is the same thing as a Plover, and he and Mom went on for a bit about how they used to see Killdeer all of the time in their respective rural homes-of-origin (Mom in Northern California, Dad in Southeast Idaho), and then they got on to how they would see Meadowlarks fairly frequently, too. For some reason I asked what the call of the Meadowlark was, and that is when he told me what his mother told him. (I have been thinking (non-continuously) for about twenty-four hours about how I was going to tell this story without using the expression "he told me that she told him that her father used to tell her, and now I'm telling you..." but here now I've just gone and done it. Oh, well.)

Here is a link to a web page-- scroll down a bit-- with a video-with-audio of a Western Meadowlark (it is helpfully labeled "Youtube"). Evidently one of the few things which makes them truly distinguishable from the Eastern variety is their call. The third call on the video is the one which I think fits best with the rhythm of the chant/tune that Dad told me about, but the fact that they don't match up exactly makes me wonder: do we have our birds mixed up? Is there a bird which isn't a meadowlark, whose song more closely resembles the one Dad sang to me? If anyone knows anything about this, please comment away!

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