Monthly Archives: May 2015

Meanwhile, with birds

It’s been hard to find the words. Or rather, I’ve been searching for and sifting through words about my relationship with birds elsewhere of late. If anything comes of my meandering thoughts, I’ll let you know. So we’ll save the big-picture discussions for another time, and I’ll let you know what’s been happening in the meanwhile.

Where to begin. I could tell you about my catastrophic ID experience a few weeks ago, wherein I accidentally called a Green heron a Hummingbird (yes, I did admit that the hummingbird seemed exceedingly large for some reason) or all the ways in which I’ve failed to differentiate between a Magnolia and a Canada warbler, or my inability to distinguish between a Chestnut-sided and Bay-breasted (from below). Or I could tell you about my most recent trips to Long Point and Pelee and Rondeau. Or I could relay that I’ve recently completed my second birdathon, with a grand total of 129 birds, most of them seen in abysmally dismal fog and rain conditions. I could regale you with lists and new lifers.

Instead, I’ll tell you this. My life now seems to be with birds, and I’m not sure how that change has come about exactly. I wear my Zeiss bins across my chest, like a purse. When stopped at a traffic light, my eyes immediately wander to the tops of trees, scanning instinctively. New urban sounds now comfort me: I’m in the company of robins, cardinals, mourning doves, a lone Baltimore oriole. That something so simple as birds could bring so much meaning to my life, so much intrinsic pleasure, and that these birds had been here all along, and that I’m finally learning the art of how to pay attention, how to abandon expectation (who doesn’t walk into a situation with a target bird?) in favour of the spontaneity of the moment, the beauty of the unplanned and unimagined — now that might just be magic.