Sunday, April 09, 2006

Songs from the Monkey's Head

We have a resident song sparrow whose territory includes the small pond just outside the upstairs master bedroom. Next to the pond is an old fencepost I sunk as a support for a now-long-gone trumpetvine. The post is a perfect singing perch for our songster, the brushy meadow spreading out below him, our house protecting him from the north wind, and a wide-open view to the east and west. Around the front of the house, a smorgasbord of suet dough is spread out each morning. Life is good for this bird.

Years ago someone gave The Swinging Orangutangs a ceramic monkey head. It was really creepy looking, so we took it to every gig we played and placed it on a mic stand in the center of the stage. Then, during one particularly rowdy show, one of the whirling dervishes among the crowd grabbed the monkey to dance with it. We could see what was going to happen, and sure enough it did--SMASH! The monkey lost his shoulders, base, and most of the back of his head. As I was unloading our equipment from the van at 4 am the next morning, I came upon the broken monkey head, and ceremoniously placed it atop the fencepost next to the pond. And there it has stayed for at least six years.

Now with all the paint weathered away, it looks more like a bleached-out monkey skull than a decorative , mantle-worthy objet d'art. The song sparrow does not mind. It's his favorite song perch.

I'm just glad that the monkey still gets to listen to music all day long.


At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Monkey:

it is a ape not a monkey
however your sparrow ID is correct

Science Chimp

At 9:08 AM, Blogger BT3 said...

Science Chimp:
You must of went to Harverd!

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11:35 AM, Anonymous liz of the cosmos said...

You my friend have got to be one of the funniest ape men on earth! I do declare! Thanks for being!

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Song sparrow at my folks' camp on Lake Champlain favors my father's 3' tall "cairn" of artfully arranged cow, buffalo, horse, deer and various other skulls and bones on the lake shore. It is a conversation piece all by itself, but he would be green with envy about your ape...
Caroline Stafford

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You rock! These photos rock!

At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh great. Now he's going to be putting all kinds of heads all over the yard and taking pictures of birds singing on them. Thank you, loyal comment crew.

Science Chimp

At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say you can never have too many heads in your yard.

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous KatDoc said...

I see I'm not the only stickler for detail - I concur with the Science Chimp: the heavy brow ridge and wide nostrils proclaim "Great Ape" rather than "monkey." (I'm the one standing at the chimpanzee cage, correcting everyone who says "Look at the monkeys!") My guess would be Gorilla gorilla, but I can't tell you whether it is a Mountain or Lowland type. (Don't you love animals whose genus, species, and common names are all the same word? Like Lynx lynx or Anhingha anhinga.)

And really, isn't it more appropriate for the Orangs to have an ape as a mascot than a monkey?


At 10:02 PM, Blogger BT3 said...

All right already--it's an APE!
THERE! I said it.
I was sloppy and wrong to call this ape a monkey.
Thanks to all who saw fit to poke me in the eye over this simian malapropism. I also extend my heartfelt apologies to Dr. Leakey, Jane Goodall, Diane Fosse, Cheeta, Mr. Chips, J. Fred Muggs, Bloop-Bloop, Koko, Bubbles, and Magilla Gorilla.

Crawling back into my primordial ooze now.


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