Falling Leaves

It’s a time of falling leaves in my neck of the woods.

In most necks of the woods, I suppose. That’s why they call this season fall, after all.

But these falling leaves took on a new significance for me this morning. Because of birds. If anyone reading this has read any of my other work here, that’s probably not much of a surprise.

I’ve birded through fall before. But only last fall. I was still a newbie, for sure. If I remember correctly, I was in the midst of learning the variety of ducks making themselves known in the wetlands I frequented. I was still learning many of the calls and bird songs I now know by heart.

A year later, I have a better understanding of the most common calls around me. Now I don’t even have to see a common bird to know what it is if it’s calling from a hidden spot. I can do this with maybe six or seven species reliably. It’s quite a nice feeling.

With this better trained ear for calls, I’ve discovered, has come a more sensitive ear to sounds of movement in general. This time a year, this means the rustling of leaves. I’v discovered, though, that the very nature of fall, all those falling leaves, can play tricks on me.

A few times this morning, for example, I a heard a slight movement in a tree next to me and quickly swung my binoculars up to see what it might be. The sound was only a falling leaf, making its way lightly to the ground. It’s interesting to me how a greater attention paid to the natural world around you can also lead to false positives like this. I suppose it’s all part of the learning process.

Like what you read? Give Jeremy Schwartz a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.