Wednesday, August 5, 2009

For Whom the Bellbird Tolls

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
10 comments
Bearded bellbird.

Not very far down the jungle trail from the main building of the Asa Wright Nature Centre, there's a sign that says Bearded Bellbird. When I first saw this, I thought "Right, like the birds always hang around right by the sign! How conVEEENient!"

Just then, the loud, ringing call note for which these birds are named clanged down from the forest canopy. There WAS a bearded bellbird and it was up there somewhere, calling repeatedly.

Moments later, Julie shouted "I've got the bellbird!" And she did. We scrambled into position to find the bird for binocular looks. Then we trained our spotting scopes on it. The bird was fairly close, reasonably well-lit, and every time it gave a note, its rastalike black wattles (or "beard") shook like wet spaghetti.

How sweet this was—my first decent look at a bellbird, one of those tropical species that jumps out at you from the field guide pages when you're dreaming of life birds. I'd heard bellbirds before. But seeing is bell-lieving.

I took a few still photos with my Leica digiscoping rig, then decided to shoot a short digital video. Here's what the bearded bellbird looked and sounded like at Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad on Monday, July 20, 2009.
video

All I can add to this post is that bellbirds are LOUD! Talk about a bad bird to have around when you had a hangover. Not that that has ever happened to me. I'm just saying...

10 comments:

On August 5, 2009 at 8:59 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

I do believe he tolled 51 times.
Thanks for the sweet hit of bellbird charisma. I always laugh when he gets to the one-per-second series of konks. Nice writing, too. Wet spaghetti.

On August 5, 2009 at 11:16 PM T.R. said...

To top it off - looks like you had a good bellweather. Just sayin.

On August 6, 2009 at 12:30 AM Carole said...

That's so cool that the bellbird read the sign and knew where to hang out! Wish that happened all the time....

On August 6, 2009 at 6:37 AM Dave Lewis said...

We saw Bellbirds in Panama and, wow, they were indeed loud! Great video.

On August 6, 2009 at 11:46 AM Anonymous said...

Thanks! I felt I had seen it myself. I was expecting a lovely ringing sound; bird sounds as if it was a bell without a clapper.
beautiful bird and video.

On August 6, 2009 at 5:02 PM Pat O'Donnell said...

How awesome! You guys are so lucky. It sounds quite a bit like some Three-wattled Bellbirds.

On August 6, 2009 at 6:36 PM Caroline said...

Well, at least it is different from the youthful blue jay gang that is in our neighborhood at the moment. They favor early morning to holler and wake up the world.

On August 7, 2009 at 12:54 PM Jim McCormac said...

Now THAT is beyond cool!

Jim

On August 13, 2009 at 1:31 AM Christena said...
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On August 22, 2009 at 2:41 AM Jack said...
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