Voice of the Turtle

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Filed under Outdoor Notes

May 15, 2013

I was driving north on 235 the other day and passed a small church along the side of the road. As is common these days, the church had a marquee out front and the parson had posted a quote from scripture. Nothing unusual there, but the quote itself gave me pause:

“the time of the singing of birds is come”

Indeed, it has.

Yellow Warbler singing

Yellow Warbler

The quote comes from the second chapter of what I consider to be the loveliest and most lyrical of all the books of sacred scripture: The Song of Solomon, or The Song of Songs. This particular wording comes from the King James Bible.[1]

It is mid-May, and the mountains are full of singing birds, particularly warblers.

Black-throated Blue Warbler singing

Black-throated Blue Warbler

They are sending a message, and they prefer to send it from high in the trees so it may carry afar: “This is my territory; you other gentlemen need to stay on outta here. Mine, mine, mine. (Ladies always welcome.)”

Golden-winged Warbler singing

Golden-winged Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler singing

Blue-winged Warbler

And because they are so high up, so far away, my 100-400mm zoom just hasn’t got enough zoom. So the images are shot at high ISOs (hence the grain) and then massively cropped.

Redstart singing

Redstart

But they will serve.

Chestnut-sided Warbler singing

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Yellow-breasted Chat singing

Yellow-breasted Chat

“the time of the singing of birds is come”

The parson gets it.

Now, at this point, many of you are wondering about the title–turtle’s don’t really have voices, do they?.

Well, the full quote from the Song of Solomon is:

“The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”

The turtle referred to is the Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur), which is native in Europe and the Middle East…

or if you are a Pogo fan, it’s Churchy la Femme, incomparable songster of the Okefenokee.

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  1. Song of Solomon, 2:12 []

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One Response

  1. Jeryl Johnston said:

    Very nice! Gave me a smile this morning …

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