Having always associated ‘sawyer’ with Tom of the same name, it never occurred to me that, like many surnames, it is also a livelihood, in this case, that of sawing wood for a living. Thoreau uses it to describe the sawing sound of the ovenbird, an American bird that makes domed, ovenlike nests.
‘Chewink’ seems to be an old name for a north American songbird now called a ‘towhee’. Learning all the time.
‘While the oven-bird thrums his sawyer-like strain, and the chewink rustles through the dry leaves or repeats his jingle on a tree-top.’
Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R. Stilgoe (New York: New York Review Books, 2009), p. 34