For the birds

I once played the roll of an ornithologist in a local play, The Lone Star Love Potion at Caribbean Community Theater, directed by Debby Babb. Sadly, playing an ornithologist on stage did not help me identify the birds that I have been noticing as of late.

Several weeks ago (or perhaps months - being unemployed can make one lose track of time, SHOCKING) in the course of my errands, travels and other such adventures I noticed a bird. Yes a bird. Now I am not one to normally notice such things, and until fairly recently I was so caught up in my life as I knew it, that I spent little to no time noticing and appreciating the natural beauty around me. So, this bird just captivated me, I was in my car waiting for traffic to move and this bird just perched beside my vehicle on the curb and looked at me as birds do. Looking at me head on, then to the side, since their little beady eyes are on the sides of their heads. I had such a feeling that this little guy/ gal was trying to tell me something, but I didn't know what. I just got the ever so calm feeling from looking into its shiny black eyes, rimmed with gold. That same afternoon, I arrived home to the place in Mary's Fancy where I was living at the time and opened my door only to have another bird fly right at me, perching on my car door as I opened it and squawking at me loudly! There had been some landscaping, bulldozing and paving going on in the neighborhood, and I wondered if perhaps this bird had lost her nest, and she was angrily accusing me of being the one responsible. This was the Pearly-eyed Thrasher.

Last week, during a walk on Ha'Penny, I passed a somewhat odd looking bird, tall and standing upright along the shoreline at the edge of the beach. The folks walking past me in the other direction glanced at it and said, "What an odd looking bird!" It wasn't really that odd-looking, and it looked much like a heron. I remember being enamored with the dark markings on its head and face, this bird looked like it was wearing eyeliner! I would have called this one a Painted Heron, but in the course of my research, I found no such thing. It just stood there as beach walkers and beach goers passed it by. I believe that this was the Little Blue Heron.

Today, through my kitchen windows, a couple of Zenaida Doves settling along the rail of the porch gave impetus for this post. Not long ago (and let's revisit that unemployment/ loss of time thing) date uncertain, a dear friend lent me a book that she thought I would enjoy. The Lost Soul Companion: A Book of Comfort and Constructive Advice for Black Sheep, Square Pegs, Struggling Artists, and Other Free Spirits by Susan M. Brackney is a great little book for us crazy, bipolar, messy artist types. She describes a type of communication between songbirds, "phatic communication" or small talk. The birds, while seeming to exert great effort in their exchange, are simply relaying a sense of being. "I am here, where are you?", with the same in reply, perhaps offering comfort in their mutual existence and proximity.

Here's a shout to all you fellow struggling, brilliant artists out there. Boo-yah.

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song." - Chinese Proverb


Steve said…
I'm here!

Do you have a power animal yet? You may have had it reveled to you. Mine is the hummingbird, flies at high speeds and can fly backwards.
Nicole said…

No! Preliminary thoughts have the swan or gazelle as possibilities.
tjwesson said…
I love it! One of my greatest joys this summer has been in providing safe feeding to the many birds. I love watching big doves or blue jays sharing their space and the seeds with little finches and sparrows. We even had a little, male goldfinch who would visit our windows. He would cling on to the window screen and peer in through the glass at us. He would follow us from room to room. I guess he was a peoplewatcher!
Anonymous said…
I thought the birds sang...wait...something about if only the birds who COULD sing, sang...then the forest would be too quiet or something...hell, I don't know.

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