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.”