How Many Can Sing a Duet?

Ok, quick little interlude here, and it doesn’t have any photos to go with it, but I have to put this out there:

The other day I was sitting in my room, which has a large screen window that faces into some low forest. I was playing guitar. And a toucan landed on a branch right outside my window and stayed there, unmoving, until I finished the song.

It was a Yellow-Throated Toucan (previously Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan, because birders can never keep names the same for long), and we get them all the time on the property. Many of the trees around the residential building are Ficus or Cecropia, which have ripe fruit this time of year. But toucans are canopy birds that generally feed high in the trees. This one was about 4 meters from the ground. My room is on the first floor.

And it just sat there, not hoping or swaying its head as they do. I can’t say for sure where it was looking, but it had one side of its head turned to me, giving me one good eye the whole time.

It was surreal. It was magical. It was as close as I will ever get to being a Disney Princess. Seriously—I was singing to the wild animals. But I just don’t understand why.

Was it a fluke? Just a coincidence? Was it reacting to the sound? To the pitch? The rhythm? I’ve heard a few animals are known to react to human music, but I don’t have any precise data on that. Toucan calls don’t sound particularly much like guitar to me.

So here’s what I collected from my little case study:

–The song was in the Key of G, and contained only the chords G, C, and D (Yay for Bluegrass, everybody!)

–The song was 4/4 time.

–My guitar was slightly out of tune as I discovered later (G chord was a little flat)

–Yes, I was singing too. I have a pretty low voice. No comment as to its quality.

–The tree right outside my room did not have ripe fruit. The nearest food source was about 5 meters away and 2 meters up.


So what gives? Has anyone heard of this before? I’ll be sure to post if it happens again.

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