Gli uccelli

by Laura A

You knew it was coming, didn’t you?  Yes, it’s a bird post!

I was drawn to our current apartment partly because it had a tree outside the bedroom window, like our old apartment. This new tree doesn’t have spectacular rainbow foliage in the fall like our old one, but it has something else the old one didn’t: birds. The old one had the occasional House Sparrow or pigeon, but House Sparrows are the street urchins of the bird world, and pigeons look really awkward perching in trees. Here we have songbirds.

I had noticed since we moved here that shortly before sunrise I’d hear an occasional loud and rapid burst of song.  It sounds like the birdsong equivalent of gunfire–what’s that?!  But then it’s gone. And since it’s dark, I still have no idea what it is.

But earlier this week I heard a happier song, and went to the window to find two pairs of chickadee-like birds, different species, in our bedroom tree. They even gave me time to find the binoculars, so I got a good look at them.  Then I looked them up.  They are called cinciallegra and cinciarella. I’d seen them both before, in Garfagnana, but not up close.  And they seem to live in the cortile, or courtyard. The cinciarella spends a lot of time hanging upside down, like a chickadee, and is about the same size. But it’s plumage is more like a Blue Jay. The cinciallegra is slightly larger, and despite its happy name, it’s slightly more sedate. Their calls are not unlike those of their American cousins, the chickadees and titmice.

Top to bottom: Cinciallegra, cinciarella and pettirosso.  Images from Wikipedia Commons, by Marek Szczepanek, Sławek Staszczuk and Andre Karwath, respectively.

A few days later Sarie and I saw a pettirosso, or European Robin. That’s the one in all the British story books!  It was a little bit like meeting Rat or Mole. Sarie and I decided that European Robins are much cuter than their American counterparts. This one flew away quickly, and we haven’t seen it since.

We also have some strange and enormous black and grey crows that have cries like wooden rattles and startle me every time I hear them (Why are ducks in our courtyard?), and of course we have the ubiquitous pigeon as well, but I’m really happy to see songbirds in Torino.  I’m looking for a bird feeder now, and wondering what other birds I can possibly attract to our window?

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