There’s a song that I always hear each morning—a pleasant, high-pitched tune that one can hear moments after the sun has risen. It is a series of rising and falling whizz and whooz sounds that seem to come out of the trees, blessing your ears as you take your first breath of the fresh, cold morning air. It is a song of a Golden-bellied Gerygone—a tiny bird that can be heard more than actually seen.

goldenbelliedflyeater
source: Bobby Kintanar via http://www.birdwatch.ph

The Golden-Bellied Gerygone/Flyeater (Gerygone sulphurea) is a common bird here in the Philippines where it is locally known as pipít-bakaw. Although common, it is rarely seen but its conspicuous vocalizations give away its presence anyway. Living up to its rare demeanor, I myself have only seen this bird a few times, normally rushing and jumping across the branches at the treetops moments before dusk. I remember attempting to whistle its song every time I hear it when I was a child, even though I cannot whistle til now.

I’ve just heard it again this morning so I tried to recreate its song on a sheet music. Here’s my best transcription:

GBG

Upon reading information from different sources, I’ve realized that the song of G. sulphureus varies from subspecies to subspecies. Even the songs differ within the members of the subspecies. You can hear the varieties here : xeno-canto.org: Gerygone-sulphurea. IUCN lists G. sulphurea as Least Concern, although their overall population is declining in many areas due to habitat loss and degradation. I hope that we will continue to hear the sweet sound of these bird in the years to come and I wish that they will not follow the fate of the Red-keeled Flowerpeckers which are now extremely rare in our area unlike in the past.

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