I love that the first prompt of Birdtober this year is Rooster. Because let’s face it, no matter how we long for the new and exciting lifers, no matter how much we travel to exotic locations in search of rarities, the bird we see and hear most often is a chicken. When I make recordings of the birds in my neighborhood, there’s nearly always a rooster in the background. The same was true in Haiti, where the rooster — at all hours of the day and night — was the most iconic sound of all. For many years we lived near a cockfighting ring, and there was many a fighting rooster raised in our neighborhood. A beloved late friend whose job took him around the world used to say that one loud rooster followed him everywhere he went.
And if you look at a rooster closely, you’ll see that it’s as beautiful as any other bird we seek. It’s just the commonness of it that blinds us to how amazing it is.
Sometimes people complain about the sound roosters make. Can you believe that? There have been several stories in the news in France about this over the past few years. I couldn’t find an outcome for the latest case, that of Pitikok. Holiday-makers eager to enjoy peace and quiet in a rural retreat took Pitikok’s owner to court because Pitikok was too noisy. The owner invoked the new law protecting the “sensory heritage” of the countryside from noise complaints. The most recent articles I could find said that Pitikok’s owner wanted to withdraw from the case because he had been receiving threats.
Can’t we all, birds and people, just get along?
Here’s my haiku about Pitikok and his noisy brethren.
This daily alarm
Sound of countryside mornings
Will not be silenced
©Ruth Bowen Hersey