May I present “Freddie Chirpury” the song sparrow! Named by @tam_a_ryn, he’s ruled our backyard since we moved in 4 yrs ago. He lives a hard life. He’s been forced to raise many a brown-headed cowbird (obligate brood parasites). We’ve seen his chicks brutally snatched by our resident blue jay Hunter multiple times. He always looks rough and disheveled by the end of the summer from trying to raise 3 broods of chicks. One year he tried to do it alone after his lady disappeared. He only successfully fledged the cowbird that time, who was twice his size.

But despite the failures, loss, and constant work just to survive, he keeps on keeping on, singing right outside our bedroom all year, year after year.

Unlike the ubiquitous and non-native house sparrows, song sparrow couples are solitary and tend to pick a territory and stick to it, defending and constantly shouting their ownership (the male anyway). This is their “song,” a repeating glorious aria declaring “this is mine, bitch, so stay the hell out!” Of course there’s some love song mixed in there as well.

One fascinating fact I learned from watching them: once they’ve begun nesting/chick-rearing, the male and female make constant little “Marco”… “Polo” squeaks, basically pinging each other to maintain contact and location awareness. “Right here. All is well,” back and forth all day every day. I’ve also learned that their voices are distinct. The others in the neighborhood just sound different to me now.

Based on a beautiful photo by Jared McCall @jaredm871@ingrainednaturecreations, I initially designed it to have branches and a full background. But this clef design popped into my head. My wife’s excitement when I showed her cemented it, and I ditched the old version.
Built from 11 species, all cut on #scrollsaw: black walnut, Peruvian walnut, spalted maple, curly maple, tree of Heaven, wenge, sapele, black locust, holly, ebony, with a cherry clef.