John Clare (1793 – 1864) of England was known in his day as the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet, both for his provincial turns of phrase and honest love of nature and agrarian life. Clare knew his birds well, celebrating the species of the English countryside in verse after verse. The title of this post was once the working title of a lovely poem later named simply The Nuthatch. While John Clare was surely moved by the nuthatch he knew, Sitta europaea, to write this work, naturalists throughout the world will probably find the poem just as apt in describing their own Sitta species:

In summer showers a skreeking noise is heard
Deep in the woods of some uncommon bird
It makes a loud and long and loud continued noise
And often stops the speed of men and boys
They think somebody mocks and goes along
And never thinks the nuthatch makes the song
Who always comes along the summer guest
The birdnest hunters never found the nest
The schoolboy hears the noise from day to day
And stoops among the thorns to find a way
And starts the jay bird from the bushes green
He looks and sees a nest he’s never seen
And takes the spotted eggs with many joys
And thinks he found the bird that made the noise

Skreek I tell you. Skreek!

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.