Morning forest sounds

Morning forest sounds / So many birds, so much sound

Morepork. December 2012. Image © Adam Clarke by Adam Clarke

Evening calls, Tikitiki, February 1957, Night, Carl & Lise Wiesmann (deceased), McPherson Natural History Unit Sound Archive,

The morning sounds around our cottage start with a familiar owl-y hoot hoot, the ruru, New Zealand’s native owl. There’s at least three owls nearby, so it’s an overlapping triangulation of sound. The name the Brits gave the ruru is more-pork and both names offer a pretty accurate sound translation.

Barbary dove. Adult male displaying. Kerikeri, Northland, September 2013. Image © Les Feasey by Les Feasey

Song, November 2011, Nicholas Allen, Nicholas Allen,

Next to join the chorus are the creamy-hued Barbary doves, cooing their comforting and soft, deep-throated gargle. The doves greet each other with a dissonant sound component that precisely evokes the jeering, scornful laugh of a teenager. It catches me off guard, seems so out of place in a subtropical forest. I see the doves in pairs or threes, never solo and they let me get very close.

New Zealand pigeon. Adult perched in tree. Wanganui, August 2008. Image © Ormond Torr by Ormond Torr

Calls from captive birds, Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, August 1979, 1415, Les McPherson, McPherson Natural History Unit Sound Archive,

Tui. Adult. Dunedin, August 2009. Image © Craig McKenzie by Craig McKenzie

Adult song, Kapiti Island, October 1956, Daylight, Carl & Lise Wiesmann (deceased), McPherson Natural History Unit Sound Archive,

Of all the morning sounds, it is the exotic call of the tui bird that slays me the most. The tui’s song goes long and contains pretty bird melodies punctuated by a odd bunch of grackles, grunts, pops, whistles and metallic cracks. It takes a few days before I realize the familiar- it’s cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!. I haven’t heard that ad jingle for 50 years. The tui call can transport me in a heartbeat to a time when I knew every word to every tv ad. The tui birds start their kooky festival at dawn and keep going all day. It is the dominant soundscape of this subtropical forest and I love it; I’m nostalgic in advance.