Adelaide's Saturday Morning Symphony

It is 7am on a cold Saturday morning. I am sitting outside listening to the birds creating a symphony. I can hear several species of birds each defined by their unique expression of sound. Each is singing their own tune. Some fly past and squawk loudly, demanding my attention. Others flash past with a streak of colour very direct in their path. The gum tree in the distance is still with very little wind to disturb it. It is filled with the comings and goings of each species finding rest and singing their tune. A pigeon lands on my next door neighbour’s antenna. Yellow crested cockatoos are circling and darting around making loud squawking noises before resting in the gum tree and making a sound like they are clearing their throats. The cockatoos all seem to group and then launch into the air. One of them squawks loudly and the others reply one by one as if checking into the initial call to tell everyone they are present in the flock. Once they stop the rosellas start checking in with each other with a higher pitch squeak. It is their turn to perform in the gum tree as the cockatoos watch. Tiny sparrows fly past in a quieter manner. The pigeons start gaggling like they are at a convention all competing with each other in a muffled room.

For a short while all the birds’ sounds come together like a great symphony each supplying its own tune to the overall song. This is broken by the yellow cockatoos who pronounce loudly that the song is over and a new tune starts to play. It is almost as if the cockatoos are the conductor announcing the melody to begin and all the other species add their value to the tune after. Several species are all in the same gum tree now and although some are louder than others, each have their space and time to express themselves.

Every now and then a smaller bird will wind up a bigger one vice versa, but overall they seem to allow each other to do their own thing. Sometimes they will chime together, other times groups of species have their turn at expressing their unique tune. A duet of magpies decides to grace me with their presence in the gum tree. All the other birds cease to play as they warm up with their majestic melody. Lifting their beaks in the air they start singing short bursts at first and then strings of melody. Sometimes the magpies sing a solo others a beautifully timed duet. It is now 8am and the sky is turning from a blue to a silvery colour. I can hear the hum of cars in the distance which indicate the world of humans is starting to awaken to their busy lives. I wonder how many people stopped for a moment and listened to this melody. This free performance of nature available to all.

All artwork on this page was created by Stephen Zanker and belongs to the artist.

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