Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Love is in the Air, Part 2

It started with a note on the bulletin board at my studio building. Something to the effect of, “Hey everyone! Call 311 about that annoying electronic bird song device that always goes off around midnight.

Hmm.. that’s odd… I’ve never heard it (though I’m not usually at the studio at midnight. I wonder if it’s a real bird?

A few days later, a reply:

I think it’s a northern mockingbird. They sing their mating call at night. Let us know if you discover otherwise.

Soon, another resident chimed in:

It’s definitely more than one kind of bird.

And back:

I don’t think so. Listen to mocking bird (aka nightingale) calls. They imitate everything and only sing about 3-5 reps of each song. It stopped singing at 11:06 tonight.

That’s very interesting. Thanks for your advice.

With a second sheet of paper now filled, the OP posted on a third sheet,

Last night it was quiet. If it was a real bird, perhaps he changed shifts. More plausible it was a device and someone changed the timing. All last week, two calls at a time continuous from 11:00 at night to 4:00 or so in the morning. Does not match typical bird behavior unless it was a very loud mockingbird (perhaps with an amp) and OCD. I think it man-made.

Too much fodder for ridicule to even bother with that one. Clearly, someone needs to a. get out of the city for a while, b. start preparing for black helicopters to descend, or c. pick up some ear plugs.

On yet another sheet, confirmation of the sound’s avian origins from a fourth writer:

I asked a birder friend—male mockingbirds run thru all the different bird call sounds to attract a mate. They only sing around midnight and when they find a mate, they don’t sing anymore. Maybe you should just hope the poor guy gets a date…

Then some wiseacre [not me this time] tagged the corner of this last sheet with some inspirational words that brought the dialog to a nice conclusion:

Love is in the air…in every sight and every sound.

Cue the music. "Hush little baby don't say a word..."

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