Friday, November 09, 2007

The saw that sings

After chasing that black scorpion around yesterday morning, Cleuson decided it was time to fix a wooden bench that had fallen apart near the entrance to the Bosque. It needed some new supporting lumber, so he selected an old maçaranduba (Manilkara huberi) slat for the job. While sawing off the pieces, we discovered that the wood was still hard as nails, even after all these years of use in one place and another. Slowly but surely the saw got through the slat and Cleuson put the saw down. To my amazement the sounds of the sawing continued up in the trees some 30 meters from us. Cleuson yelled, Jacu! Indeed, there was a pair of chachalacas up there. They are very evasive birds and obviously not interested in having their pictures taken. After two or three short flights between trees, they disappeared altogether. As I suspected, they had been attracted by the sound of sawing. Cleuson tells me that hunters use many tricks to call birds in for the kill, including the rubbing of a palm frond on a machete blade, which produces a sound much like the saw. Then too, I couldn't help from remembering old days in Alabama, when my stepfather would call in turkeys by rubbing a piece of wood against a small cedar box, which produced a sound equal to a gobble/gobble.

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