/The great birdsong mystery

The great birdsong mystery

By Jim Poling Sr.

Our first guess at the source of the bird tweets, twitters and cheeps was a robin.

We were in the living room one afternoon when the racket began. It was sharp, penetrating and seemed to come from the ceiling.
We banged the ceiling with a broom handle but the chirping did not stop. We Googled bird calls and concluded that a robin got into our rafters.
The next day I checked the eaves and facia, but there were no holes, cracks or crevices that would allow a bird into the building.

The birdsong returned the next day and more investigation revealed no place of entry or any sign of a bird. We downloaded more bird calls and decided it was not a robin. Maybe a woodland thrush or a warbler.
What such a bird was doing inside our place in mid-winter was another mystery. But after another day or so the birdsong stopped and we assumed the singer had moved on.

It returned this week, more high-pitched than before and it continued well into the evening.
Pounding on the ceiling and screaming into the woodwork did not make it stop. This was one stubborn bird, something possessed sent to drive us mad.
The next morning, we checked outside. The way the snow was banked on the roof provided a possible sheltered hiding spot. Also, a pyramidal vent stack protector might offer a place to hide, keep warm and sing.

But both possibilities were outside and the birdsong was shrill and piercing inside. We talked about shovelling the roof or perhaps calling an exterminator.

That evening, we again sat to watch some television and the bird calls began piercing the room. They were loud enough to override Bill Maher using the F-word on his Real Time television show.
We watched the 10 o’clock news then went to bed, leaving the bird chirping and cheeping. Obviously, it had no intention of sleeping, or allowing us to sleep.

I am partially deaf from competitive target shooting without earmuffs decades ago when I foolishly did not pay attention to such things. So, I unplugged my hearing aids and fell asleep.
My wife was not so fortunate. The bird kept her up most of the night. About 4 a.m. she couldn’t tolerate any more. I awoke to her pounding the ceiling and shouting for the bird to shut up.
I am not the most pleasant person when my sleep is disturbed, so an argument ensued.
“You have to turn the volume up to 100 to hear the television or radio but you can hear little tweets from a bird?” I shouted before storming back to bed.

I was awakened later by the sweet aroma of freshly-brewed coffee and traipsed down to the kitchen, where my wife was sending and receiving her daily “good morning” messages on her iPad.
“It’s here in the kitchen now,” she informed me sleepily. “And, it’s even louder. At least it shut up long enough for me to do my messages.”
That evening it started up again as we watched the television news. Frustrated, my wife picked up her iPad to read and ignore the annoying racket. When she did, the birdsong stopped suddenly.

Then it dawned on us: every time the bird sang, the iPad was close by. And, whenever an iPad button was pushed, the birdsong stopped. The bird was inside the iPad!

I consulted Google and learned that others have complained of hearing noises, some bird-like, on their iPads. I didn’t try to learn more about those complaints or what those iPad owners had discovered, if anything.
I didn’t because I feared finding yet another conspiracy theory, and we already have too many of those.

With thousands believing climate change is caused by Jewish snow machines in space, or that Covid-19 is fake news, or that liberal thinkers are pedophiles who eat little children, anything is possible.
It’s not a far reach for those who believe that Bill Gates is a voodoo doll trying to depopulate the world, to believing that Apple is practising mind control with birdsongs in its iPads.

Meanwhile, we are not taking any chances. The iPad is locked away in a soundproof place and quiet has returned to our house.