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Widowed Toucans Sing Love Songs


Tod D. Swanson, Interview of Eulodia Dagua


Our parents used to explain to us that toucans (usually) sing in the late afternoon and in the morning.  But if the male/husband (of the pair) is killed, or if the wife/female is killed then they say that (the surviver) sings (all day).   It calls because it wants to take another (lover).  My father would tell us "I killed a toucan that was in a hollow tree this morning.”  And the (widowed) female would go sit on a high branch and sing,  "Win, win, win,” until another male comes, another one.  If they kill her mate she calls another right away!  "The toucan takes another husband that same day," (my father used to tell us).


Another one?


Another one.  It goes to a very high branch and sings (without stopping) until another one lands (beside it).  (My father) used to say that the toucan sings to take a mate.


Both the females and the males?


According to how my father, the females and the males do the same thing

Right away the toucan perches way up there and sings "Han, han, han, han han" until its throat is dry.  Then another one (comes) "pu, pu, pu, pu, pu (sound of wings).  Then there is silence because it already has another (lover).


That is what I used to hear my father say.  If he would kill one of  them in the morning by afternoon there would be two there together (again). That same day! Toucans!

They are womanizers?

(Yes!) Womanizers!  But the female is also a "manizer."  She gets him that same day!  Those toucans!


My father used to say that when the toucan is singing like that, when it is singing sadly..   You know when the sun is going down "tsiuuun," over there?  And for no apparent reason a toucan starts singing "Han, han, han?"  That happens because (a human woman) has sung.  That is what I have heard.  


So when the toucans are singing there are also women singing their…?


(Yes.) That is why I say that when (the women) sing to cause love/sorrow the (toucans) sing.  The toucans sing when humans sing.  Then about this time of day, when the sun is setting (they begin to sing) across the river or over there "ha, ha, ha.”  They sing until their throats are completely dry.


Is it because of (human) women that they sing?

(Yes!). It is because of human women!  It is when the human (women) sing that they sing.

So when you hear it it sounds sad of course.


So somewhere where we can't see her there is a woman singing.

That is it!.  Somewhere she is singing. Then this toucan will sing all day like this.

So then we wonder are you singing out of sadness?  The toucan sounds sad when it sings right?  You have heard it right?  Doesn't it sing sadly?  That is because a (human) woman has sung to cause love/sadness.   That is why it sings like that.  That is what I have heard my father say.

So as we are walking in the forest at the time when the sun is setting maybe we hear a toucan....


(Yes). That is poignant.  That is a human singing. A human woman is singing somewhere and by her singing she causes us to hear (a toucan).  That is what my father used to say.

So instead of the actual voice of a human woman a toucan sings.  I have heard that.


In the morning too?


It sings the same way in the morning.  That is how it sings with the whitening of the dawn "win, win, …"   If you look (you will see that) it will go hopping to the point of a tree branch.  It goes to a branch and sings "Win.."  That is how their song is.  That is when it makes us feel sad.  Then we say (to our selves) Doesn't that toucan  sing sadly?"


In beginning times was the toucan a human woman? Or a man or both?


The toucans also were both, a man and a woman because all the animals were in pairs when they were human.  Otherwise there would not be any (today).  That is why they multiplied and are around today.



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