The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark - Off-Ramp for September 14, 2013

Please help identify Karen's 'typewriter bird'

Soboroff typewriter

John Rabe

Andy Rooney would have asked his viewers, "Have you ever noticed how birds make sounds when you're trying to sleep?"

KPCC's Karen Fritsche sent me the audio you can listen to, over on the left, and this note:

The first time we heard the typewriter bird was about 3 years ago. At first we thought it was our whacky neighbor, a restaurateur, working on his own Kitchen Confidential.  But it was a bird that worked diligently right outside our window.

We’d lie in bed at 6am and hear it … like an electronic typewriter, tap, tap, tap. Sometimes fast, like he was on a roll. Sometimes slow, like he was thinking, constructing sentences carefully.

Allen and I would joke that he was working on the Great American Novel. One day, we didn’t hear him anymore, and we were bummed out. He must have writer’s block, we thought. Or a book tour, perhaps?

He came back the next year, prolific as ever, defying the cliche that the second book is the hardest. Clearly, he was working on a very personal memoir now, because his typing was much faster and more intense.

His appearances and disappearances have become an annual thing, and each year we welcome him back.

We’d kind of like to know what kind of bird he or she is. Is he making that sound with his beak or with his wings? On the other hand, we really enjoy thinking of him as the typewriter bird because it’s inspiring listening to him doing what he loves each morning.

So, if you know, or think you know, let us know in the comments section below.

(Please don't spoil the fun by telling us to go to Google or BirdSoundsRUs.com. We prefer getting real people involved.)


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