This Morning Outside
by Diane Porter
August 4, 2010
This morning a little bird in the woods near my house reminded me of Harriet Barker, who taught this bird to me years ago. I met her on a birdwatching trail in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona. We never saw the bird. But we listened to its emphatic song coming out of a bush.
"It's the Question-and-answer bird," Harriet told me. "Bell's vireo. It sounds like it's asking a question and then answering it."
I had to agree.
Wouldja switch a witch's widget witz a switch? it sang.
And right after came the answer: Witches switch a scritch's stitches witz a chew!
It's more often heard than seen. Often it's just a scratchy song coming out of a thicket. Once you learn it, you'll never forget it.
It wasn't singing this morning. I had to identify it by its appearance, which is considerably more difficult than by its song.
The Question-and-answer bird. The Bell's vireo.