Birds N’at

In the three years since moving to Pittsburgh to pursue a graduate degree and begin a career, learning Pittsburghese has been a fun and effective way to set down roots and learn the local culture. Now, I work dahntahn Mondee through Fridee and watch the Stillers on Sundee while the warsh runs.

And for a birder like me, an equally effective way to set down roots has been learning the local birds, from the barrage of kaleidoscopic warblers in spring to the thrilling invasion of winter finches happening right now.

It may not be surprising that there is confluence between these two diversions. Equally, if not more enjoyable, than learning Pittsburgh’s birds has been meeting its birders. I’ve learned from them not just the birds and not just the regionalisms, but an array of interesting regional bird name pronunciations.

In the spring, Chimley Swifts chitter ceaselessly as they move through the air, seeming to never land. Brahn Creepers visit the parks from higher forests. The Dahny Woopecker, a common bird of the woods whose dainty squeaks are often heard before the bird appears, is present any time of year.

Just yesterday while driving down I-79 after pursuing gulls and waterfowl up Erie, I spotted an enormous immature Balled Iggle. A couple weeks ago, several friends and I heard the ethereal whistle of an Eastern Screech-Ahl from deeper in the woods.

And as I write this, a pair of Northern Cardnuls is visiting my feeder, reminding me of the many ways Pittsburgh has become my home.

Filed under: Prose