Waking up in a strange house can be disconcerting. Waking up at 5:00 a.m. in a strange house to the trilling of happy birds in the nearby trees can be even more disconcerting. After a very late night hashing over family problems, waking up at 5:00 a.m. to trilling birds before you've even had your morning coffee can be disconcerting in the extreme.
Don't get me wrong - I am generally a morning person, though I do like to start my days with a steaming "cup o' java" which is sometimes the best part of the day, especially when you're trying to help resolve family problems.
The resolving part had turned out to be fairly easy in the end, after all - a single day of packing, teeth-gritting, and tongue-biting, followed by a swiftly loaded moving van that wrote the finish to that painful scenario.
The slightly giddy, tearful, and long-into-the-night after-math had been draining but affirming. What I hadn't been at all prepared for was the Walt Disney dawn chorus of happy little birdies, all happily proclaiming their mating search - right outside my window.
You could hear the feathered Don Juans calling for miles around. It seemed as if spring had arrived overnight, filling the new day with a symphony of twitters, from the melodic morning burble of the Red-Winged Blackbird to the cheerful and unmistakable Oh, Canada, Canada, Canada of the White-Capped Sparrow.
The finches that graced our morning kaffee klatch had many of the typical features of the finch family - the stubby, seed-cracking beak, and the distinctive flight. Like all true finches, they had the bouncing flight of most small birds of their kind - alternating bouts of flapping with gliding on closed wings.
I can also attest to the fact that they are good singers, as they sang well, long, and with great gusto, especially when there was a lady in sight.
Though I found their song was lovely, once I became accustomed to hearing them at first light, it was their beautiful plumage and the wide variety of markings that I found the most striking. The red shades in their coloring ranged from barely-pink, to a warm golden rose, to quite a bright red.
I must admit I missed some of the choicer moments of the male finches mating display. Sometimes, we were having too much fun just laughing at their antics to focus the camera properly.