Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. July 8, 1923. In the Dead O' Night [Bird Calls]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 58(41): 4-E. A bird editorial.

In the Dead O' Night.

Since restless human beings talk in their sleep, there isn't any particular reason why restless birds shouldn't exercise the same privilege - which they do.

One of the weirdest, most mysterious of sounds is the murmured slumber-talk of some half-awake songster in the dead o' night. Out on the dark summer roadside park your car - or your feet - and listen.

If you are fortunate, and you probably will be, you will presently hear the sleepy drone of the Dickcissel - "chip, chip, chee-chee-chee!" - just the same measure as his incessant hot-day chirp, but much subdued now, while he half-sleeps in some unknown bower.

Or else the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, sometimes called the Rain Crow, will roll over in bed, figuratively speaking, and observe "touk, touk, touk" a couple of times.

The Chipping Sparrow and the Robin often have bad dreams, or goodness - it's pretty hard to tell which - and the insect-like hum of the former mingles with the sharp "cheep" of the latter.

It's always interesting to study bird-life - even in the dead o' night.