Cheeseburger Bird

Another sign of summer in Tahoe is the infamous Cheeseburger Bird. No, I am not talking about a flying Big Mac, but a bird whose three-syllable song sounds like it’s saying “cheeseburger.” This is one of the first things I learned about Tahoe when I moved here, taught to me by Siig’s friend Gavin, who also informed me that the Cheeseburger Bird’s chirp can sound like it’s saying “hangover” or “lame loser,” depending on your frame of mind. I’ve decided not to pass on this useful tidbit to my kids, who enjoy listening for the Cheeseburger Bird. I did tell Kaiden, however, that the bird can say “Storm Trooper.”

Lately, Kaiden has been asking me what the Cheeseburger Bird looks like. I realized I have no idea because I only ever hear the bird, not see it. So, on the off-chance that someone else from Tahoe had posted something about the Cheeseburger Bird on-line, I decided to Google it. Wow! In a sign that yes, everything under the sun can be found by Googling, I not only discovered a YouTube video featuring the bird, but also a poem devoted to the feathered creature and its real name, Mountain Chickadee. I guess the Cheeseburger Bird is not a Tahoe-only phenomenon as I had thought, but can be found everywhere in the Sierra Nevada. It came as a bit of a surprise to me that the Cheeseburger Bird is so well known. In fact, Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort discusses it on their web page.

As my friend Bree pointed out, the Cheeseburger Bird is the sound of Tahoe in summer. But personally, I would much prefer to hear the Chocolate Bird’s song. It would go someting like this: “eat choc-o-late, eat choc-o-late.”

bird    YouTube – Cheeseburger Bird.


8 thoughts on “Cheeseburger Bird

  1. Love this one! I’ll have to show it to Gav… I’m actually listening to a Cheeseburger Bird right now from my office. I’ll never forget being Kaiden and Kaya’s age and hearing that sound… It’s the sound of Tahoe!


    • Yes, definitely the sound of Tahoe. Should add that to the posting and credit you. Thanks for checking out my blog! Are you off to Nicaragua soon?

      • We’re off to Nica June 15 for ten days!!! Jess is hot but surfing so I’m not sure what she’s complaining about:) Gavin leaves on Sunday for 2 1/2 weeks. He’s really excited. We should get together before he leaves. Give me a call…. maybe we can BBQ tomorrow.

  2. I miss the cheeseburger bird! I grew up with his call in my ear. Your post has made me more excited than ever that I will be moving back to Tahoe this summer.

  3. I just had to laugh. I too googled the cheeseburger bird and read your post. I live in N.E. Washington. And they are one of the first signs summer is here. Thanks for your post.

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