Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ten Beautiful Birds

Nobody tagged me, but I'm grabbing this meme as it goes by.

I won't say "most beautiful," because I'm sure I will think of others right after I hit the publish button. These are simply the beautiful birds from my own area that have come to mind, or crossed my vision, in recent days.
  1. Black terns, dipping and skimming over a dugout.
  2. American redstart. I will never forget the pair that raised their young in the livingroom window when I was young. I mean literally, in the window. We lived in a house trailer with windows consisting of shingled strips of glass that could be rotated open as louvers for ventilation. I guess the window louvers got left partly open, and the birds came in. They soon had a great tangle of twigs between the louvers and the screen. Who would want to stop them?
  3. Western grebe.
  4. Northern pintail.
  5. American avocet.
  6. For their song: Sprague's pipits, plural. That song came creeping into my consciousness one June day in the wide lonely beauty of the Great Sandhills, as I catalogued the flora of a proposed gas well site and access. As I became aware of it, I was struck by its seeming impossibility: an endlessly descending waterfall of trilling sound, never reaching a bottom, never running out of top. I've heard Sprague's pipits a few times in other places (including just down the road), but never in the numbers it takes for that kind of sound.
  7. And also for the song, this song familiar from beyond the bounds of conscious memory, just a part of the atmosphere of the forested north slope of the farm where I grew up: the veery.
  8. For their acrobatics: Eastern kingbirds.
  9. For gentle fearlessness: cliff swallows. I love to bike down to the bridge on the 604 and be wrapped up in a swirling twittering cloud of graceful birds.
  10. And finally, for sheer cheeky charm: the black-capped chickadee.


Madcap said...

Chickadees are my very, very favourite birds. They're the "Chanel" of the bird-world, I think - tailored and understated, but exceedingly charming.

Deb said...

Thanks, Laura, for picking up on this meme; you've got some great choices here that I haven't seen on many other lists. I used to live on a pond that swarmed with black terns in the summer. Western grebes bring back memories of my graduate school field work on the Missouri River in South Dakota. And the redstart-what a story!