The Air is for the Birds


Starling Not Liking My Attention

The Starlings are back.  Two days ago I stepped out of my back door to better hear what the noise was–it sounded like the big pump for the town’s water supply had a bearing go out.  It wasn’t the pump, it was what seemed like two hundred jillion birds in the black oak and black walnut trees that are in my neighbors yard.  WOW!  They were also flying and doing their sheet-in-the-wind-big-sail imitation as they flew in a formation only they knew shifting back and forth across the sky hunting insects–I presume.

They were there yesterday morning, and again this morning as well.  Awesome!  Just awesome!  There is always a pair that make their home each year in a hole in the outside wall of our house just under our bathroom window, and right next to the toilet.  In the winter we are never alone.  Ruffling, fussing, whining, complaining, scolding: family life at the Marckx House.

We live on or next to some flyway or another for small birds.  There is a Vernal and Autumnal progression of birds–Goldfinch, Redwing Blackbird, House finch, Hummingbird, Titmouse, Junco, and an orange feathered bird we have never successfully identified.  The air is thick with transient feathered creatures.

There are other winged critters around here that do not seem to migtate, but do fluctuate season to season: Mockingbirds, Jays, Ravens, Red-tail/Red-shouldered/Sharp shanked Hawks, coveys of up to 25 Quail, Towhee, Dove, and all of what a Biology friend once, because of their numbers and indistinguishable characteristics, referred to as DBBs (damn brown birds).

Then, yesterday evening, I first heard, and then saw a long “V” of Canada Geese.  Beautiful, majestic, low, and heartbreakingly beautiful.  I wondered about the diversity of birds, and the lessons they might teach us if we would only listen–or watch, or pay attention.  Birds fill the air, but they fill my life, too.


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