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Chirp

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<< The Tree Stumps Chirp The Tiny River Period >>

Chirp is one of the periods of the xkcd comic Time, in the Mountain Era. It lasted from frame 1826 to frame 1882.

SummaryEdit

This period begins as Cueball and Megan continue their journey towards the mountains and, as they pass the tree stumps which they didn't comment on, Cueball asks Megan if she hears any quiet chirps. She says no, and Cueball confirms that he no longer hears them, but Megan adds that she had previously heard chirps in the night sky before, just single, quiet peeps while looking at the night stars. Cueball asks if she saw anything, and she says she only saw a few stars flicker, but nothing else. They continue on to the next scenery piece and pause when they hear a "chirp," represented by the word "chirp" in a dotted circle at the right side of the frame. Cueball comments that it is coming from up ahead and they both continue towards it.

As they get to the next scene slice, the "chirp" is now seen to be distinctly emanating from a tree branch near the top of the first of three tall trees (tall relative to other recent trees). It continues to chirp repeatedly and Megan replies with a chirp of her own before asking Cueball why it is doing that, to which he replies that he doesn't know. Megan suggests that perhaps it is angry that they are there.

In frame 1857, a bird is seen flying into the scene from the right side of the frame. The bird flies to the branch where the chirping is coming from, which initially appears to give Cueball a sense of worry, but it then moves to the adjacent branch and begins chirping as well, causing Megan to point out that it gave something to the small chirper, and thus deducing that it is probably a baby bird they've been hearing. Both birds continue to chirp, the larger one in a larger font, causing Cueball to comment that they are both now loud. Megan tries to reassure the parent bird, saying, "It's okay! We're not going to eat your baby!" but Cueball expresses doubt as to whether or not the parent bird believes her. Megan says that's okay as it is merely protecting its baby.

After continuing to watch the chirping for a frame or two, Megan remarks that she thinks she sees water ahead and continues forward, leaving Cueball behind still looking at the birds. Just as she is leaving the frame, he remarks, "Don't worry! You're doing a good job!" and then he follows her off the right side. After he is gone we see the larger bird rejoin the smaller one on the same branch before the scene piece changes again to begin the next period.

DiscussionEdit

Before the chirps were positively identified to be birds, there were many on the One True Thread who believed that the chirps represented insects. This seemed supported by a number of very tiny molpy movements on the ground right at the very beginning of the period.

When the bigger bird first started to fly towards the smaller one, especially due to the worried expression Cueball gives, it was momentarily believed that the bird was predatory and about to eat the source of the chirping, whether it was a smaller bird or an insect.

The wonderment expressed by Cuegan over the feeding ritual they observe brought up new questions and heavy debate regarding the relative naivete of the pair. To many in the forum, this appeared to suggest a truly uninformed world view or at least a strong lack of exposure to the natural world, while others saw their very obvious descriptive dialogue merely as a tool by Randall to explain the scene for his audience, not meant to imply that the pair are particularly unintelligent or inexperienced. It did also seem odd that their initial questions about the chirping itself seemed to suggest that they weren't particularly familiar with the sound of birds at all, but this seems hard to believe given the number of other birds they've already seen to that point in the comic.

Molpy SightingsEdit

Obviously the period itself is defined by their encounter with the chirping birds (nicknamed "chirpies") which are seen chirping and moving in the branches through a great majority of the period. However, before they are seen, there are also a number of small molpy movements in four different spots on the ground to the right of Cuegan. They are not revealed enough for any attempts at identification, but seem particularly small, which led to the suggestion that maybe they were crickets or other insects that might be the source of the chirping, until that was revealed to come from birds.

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