The Great Rooster Symphony of St. Croix
Welcome to Paradise – right? So far St. Croix has met all of my expectations for tropical paradise with one exception……Roosters! There are a Nipsey Russell of roosters running amuck about the island. Now, during the daytime, this isn’t really a problem. In fact it is mildly charming and feels, oh so rural! The problem comes with the Rooster’s odd circadian rhythms.
A lone rooster sitting on the split rail fence, heralding the dawn as the sun crests the horizon, really is somewhat picturesque and magically bucolic. Unfortunately what we have here in our little part of St. Croix is more like something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Not a lone rooster, but many (I am guessing at least 20) live somewhere in the neighborhood. Of note, these roosters don’t belong to anyone, they just are…they exist to eat all day and run around creating more little roosters. At least those are the two activities I have seen them engaged in thus far.
Being closer to the equator than I am accustomed, the sun rises earlier and sets earlier and remains fairly consistent throughout the year. Daylight Savings is not observed here. Sunrise is usually around 6:00 AM and sunset is usually around 7:00PM – 13 glorious hours of sunshine. Right now sunrise is scheduled at 5:46 AM – imagine the cacophony of 20+ roosters all greeting the rising sun. In the states this wouldn’t be as problematic because very few people sleep with their windows open. In the Caribbean EVERYONE sleeps with windows open – otherwise you would suffocate. So every morning sometime between 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM the symphony begins. It is usually around a 30 – 40 minute composition of various tonalities with some very unique crowing. We have nick-named one of the roosters Wa-hoo, because he doesn’t really make the cock-a-doodle-doo sound, it just sounds like he is screaming “WAA-HOOO!” at the top of his lungs.
the pièce de résistance
Now for the pièce de résistance…..The sleep talking rooster. This is a real thing – or at least the only explanation I can come up with for Cock-a-doodle-doing at O’Dark thirty. At some ungodly hour of the night one rooster has a vivid dream of the dawn and “sleep-crows.” This wakes all of the other roosters, who are terrified that they might have overslept and failed in their duty to herald the rising of the sun. So they all start crowing as if Phoebus Apollo were passing overhead that very moment. This is where I usually sit up in bed and start giggling. The roosters are much like you and I in the morning before we warm up our vocal chords – a little froggy. Really try to imagine what a cock-a-doodle-doo sounds like for a rooster who has just awoken. The only way I can describe it is a rooster whose battery is dying and needs replaced, or a severely inebriated rooster slurring its speech. The only other descriptor I have would be a rooster having a mild stroke. This sound in the middle of the night usually elicits two responses – a curse word and a smile. I am so sad to be awakened, but that sound is absolutely hysterical.
So, as you snuggle into your well-insulated house with central AC and closed windows, just think about the Rooster Mazurka you are missing, or the Rondo-doodle-doo. Yes you might sleep the whole night through, but you’re missing a midnight giggle that is well worth it!
Want to learn more about roosters and their various idiosyncrasies? Check out Murano Chicken Farm. After searching for a picture of a rooster crowing, we found this delightful site with everything having to do with chickens. The link above will take you to a very interesting article about the crowing. Thanks to Murano Chicken Farm for the use of their picture! Their site is extremely useful if you are looking for info on all things “chicken.”