BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The soundtrack to Johnnie Wayne Rosso's life has no lyrics. Only chirps.
"You know, sometimes you don't have to say a word," he says. Then presses his lips against his teeth and whistles. "He gets on the house and makes that tone, and that'll make her come down." Rosso is referring to two birds in the trees behind his Plaquemine, La home. He's turned his backyard into a bird resort, complete with high-rise condos, single units, and a birdseed buffet served in old frying pans.
Rosso's homes attract English sparrows and starlings, but his passion is purple martins. "Sometimes I watch them four or five times a day when I take a break. They become something like your cat or your dog. Your favorite pet.
The martins move in every year in the early spring to mate and raise their young. Most have hatched by now, and the parent birds are now busy catching bugs for their babies. "You see them feeding their little ones from start to finish."
By July, they'll be strong enough for the 5,000-mile journey to Nova Scotia, Canada. "When they leave," says Rosso, "you get really depressed. It's a void in your soul you can't fill with any other bird."
It's a void so deep it can only be filled with Rosso's own song. Six years ago, Rosso and a neighbor wrote and recorded The Purple Martin Blues in a garage not far from his home, on Martin St., of course. Rosso says the sad whine of the slide guitar help ease the sadness when his feathered friends fly the coop, and help him reflect on life.
"Mother Nature is the holy grail of love," according to Rosso. "If more people had Mother Nature in their soul this world would be a much better place. The birds, the flowers, you know, you just learn to listen from within."