in which witness is borne: birds, politics, fiction and critical art theory

I and the Bird #31: A Challenge

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
OK. Since we're just past the anniversary of this I and the Bird Blog Carnival, which is, after all, a collaborative effort spearheaded by the spectacularly tireless Mike, I thought I ought to do something a little special with it. Thing is, all your contributions were so different! So I'm now, at 11pm on a Tuesday night, setting myself a challenge: I will write a haiku for each post in this week's edition. You guys know what haiku is, right? Three lines: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. I promise neither quality nor consistency but maybe a little entertainment for you all as you take the pleasurable journey through all the entries. They're so worth reading that I think they merit my finest poetic effort! Let the games begin! (P.S. I am allowed to break the rules any time I feel so inclined.)

From West Virginia
Elvis-or is it LVIS?
Has flown the building

Feeder or birdbath?
Steve Bailey has the answers
If you want more birds

Thought I knew cardinals
KTCat has proved me wrong!
Oahu dreaming...

Peregrine's breathless
Over his first sightings of--
Well, read it and see!

UK daylight fades--
Not Marc's usual birding time
Look what we have here!

In birding Eden
David's quest, once thwarted, now:
New Guinea, Part Deux.

Minnesota Deb:
A sad discovery, but hey--
Positive ID!

It's a what? A what?
Too noisy, I can't hear you.
Plus: Australia pics

Down Under, a trip
Rewards Duncan and his wife--
A clue: it's Powerful

Wayne, birding by train
Spies and photographs--a what?
You'll just have to read

Pull back the covers
Get up! Go see some plovers
Then read Mike's latest.

Here's an elegy
Via ornithology

Rob's raptor photos
A captivating trio
Soars over Boise

Let's envy Charlie
Whilst birding Nigeria
What's this species called?

More New Guinea thoughts
From artist Carel this time
What colors! Such skill!

Bzzzz! goes the hummer
A jewel of a pic from Jayne
Georgia's ruby throat

Thomasburg babies
Grown in a watering can
Time for flight at last!

Rocky mountain highs
For Patrick and Beth's trip out west
Crossbills! Siskins! Yay!

Don't miss Dave's sunset
An unexpected guest came
You won't believe it

Bird book buffs take note:
Amy's got the scoop for you
Awesome interview

Juvenile birds?
How can you tell? A lesson
From John of DC

How to find shorebirds
In Arizona, you ask?
Ask Rick. He knows now.

If you've got a yard
And think you've seen it all there
Keep watching! says Nuthatch

Breaking news--RARE BIRD

If you can, drive to NH
Lillian's pics beckon!

And that's a wrap for this edition. In order, the blogs are: Bird Stuff,Fabienne.net,The Scratching Post,Peregrine's Birdblog,The Hornet's Nest,The Wanderling, Sand Creek Almanac,Trevor's Birding,Ben Cruachan Blog,Tai Haku, 10,000 Birds, BirderBlog,Rob's Idaho Perspective, Charlie's Birding Blog, Rigor Vitae, Journey Through Grace, Thomasburg Walks, The Hawk Owl's Nest, Via Negativa, Wild Bird on the Fly, A DC Birding Blog, Aimophila Adventures,Bootstrap Analysis, The Stokes' Birding Blog.

Thanks so much to all who contributed--first timers, welcome aboard! And returning posters, welcome back. Hope you've enjoyed this little exercise--and seriously, don't forget to read all the posts--especially timely and exciting is Lillian Stokes' photo essay on the now-present possible Western Reef Heron in Maine and New Hampshire. It's an end-of-summer treat for birders everywhere!

Good Birding,
8:50 PM :: 12 comments ::

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Troubled Thrush

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
So on my way back to my car from an errand this morning in Evanston, I heard a distressed, loud, robinlike PEEK! coming from the sidewalk. Just past the hood of my car, standing on the pavement, there it was: a small thrush. I'm now fairly certain it was a WOOD THRUSH, something we don't get all that commonly around here. The bird PEEKed again, and looked right at me. Neither of us moved. A feeling began to brew inside me that something was wrong here: the bird wasn't hopping or attempting to get away from me at all.
And then I noticed it had no tail. None. Where a tail ought to have been, there was a perfectly horizontal line of short feathers poking out from its butt area--but these in no way constituted an actual tail. My mind reeled: what could have caused this? Was this bird a mutant, a genetic anomaly of some sort? Had it been attacked by a predator? How had it lost its tail so neatly?
And more urgently, why wasn't it flying? Did it have a balance problem because of the lack of a tail? It seemed to be a young bird, so I stepped back to observe for a minute. I looked up and noticed that the building abutting the sidewalk had a glass exterior wall all the way around the first floor. The bird could have smacked into it and gotten temporarily stunned or hurt. But it was on its feet, and as this thought floated across my brain, the bird hopped up onto the windshield of the car next to mine. Great. Now it was on someone's car. Was I going to have to bag it and bring it to the wildlife rescuers? At eight months pregnant, I'm about as likely to accomplish this as to win a figure skating competition. The bird PEEKed again and hopped/flew up to the next car, a tall SUV, where it could see over the tops of people's heads. I cursed, pulled out my phone, and dialed 411 with the intention of looking up the wildlife rescue team for our area. But I couldn't remember their names. Nor was I certain that intervention was the correct route here.
It was one of those standstill moments, where you are alone with the chaos of things and have to decide what you are going to do about it. Was this bird going to be able to fly again?
And again, as the question floated up, the bird answered me. It flew quickly and quietly across the street to a young gingko tree, where two other birds awaited it and began to chatter. Happy that I wasn't going to be called upon to save a life, but troubled that I really hadn't wanted to save it in the first place, I got in the car and drove away.

What do we do in the face of an individual nonhuman life in need of help? If the bird had been motionless or bleeding, I'd like to think I would have bagged it and called it in. But then what? And is it really worthwhile to try and save an individual of a species like that? Or should we limit our concern to problems that impact birds at the population level? This remains a troublesome and unresolved issue for me.
12:27 PM :: 6 comments ::

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bird, interrupted

Monday, August 14, 2006
i haven't birded since we moved. Six weeks! it's not that getting around is so tough now that i'm eight months preggers--it's that getting UP is so tough. I grieve the loss of a gigundous park 1/2 block away in our old neighborhood. There have been a couple of woodpeckers, including a neighborhood RED-BELLIED, in the past few weeks, but i need to come to terms with the fact that (a) I am having a kid and that may hamper my ability to get out birding on a regular basis and (b) I live less than a mile from the lake now, so the avian populations I'll get will be different--fewer woodpeckers and raptors and prairie birds, more shorebirds. It makes me whiny at times: but I don't KNOW anything about shorebirds! I don't even LIKE gulls! Is this all I have to look forward to--herring gulls and the occasional sandpiper or tern?

And on the baby front, are there any birders with babies out there? How do you manage it, especially nursing moms? Do you just take baby out when s/he wakes up at 5am and come back at 8am for a nap? That could work...my partner is a big morning sleeper so that would give him the time he needs...so much of this is still unknown. we shall have to see!
8:15 AM :: 1 comments ::

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