This week’s photo, taken May 14, 2014 at Magnuson Park in Seattle, WA, features a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, a rare visitor to the Seattle area.
I never tire of listening to the notes of the Yellow-breasted Chat. With its bright yellow throat and breast, plus its white “spectacles,” the chat is a strikingly beautiful bird, yet its unique and varied vocalizations impress me far more than its good looks. Besides, due to its skulking and secretive nature, a chat is more likely to be heard than seen, anyway.
The other morning in Magnuson Park, the chat belted out a loud single whistle, followed by a lengthy pause, followed by oriole-like chatter, then another long pause, and finally a series of 4 rapid whistles. Then it repeated that exact sequence (whistle/pause/chatter/pause/4 rapid whistles) over and over again, for about an hour. The listener may get the impression from those moments of silence in between the utterances, that there’s more than one bird cranking out tunes from deep in the brush.
A Yellow-breasted Chat produces sounds I would expect to hear in the tropics. When listening to a chat, I like to close my eyes and imagine that I’m in Costa Rica or Tanzania.
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