Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Neighborhod Birdist, Connie Sidles, Posts Two More Interesting Posts About Yellow-Headed Blackbirds And The Long Journey Of Birds

Connie Sidles, who maintains a blog documenting the many types of birds, including beautiful pictures, at the nearby Union Bay Natural Area, also known as the Montlake Fill, has recently posted two more new essays on interesting bird sightings.

Here are two of her recent posts:

Sun Lovers
May 14th, 2012

We Seattleites, people of the gray, know how to appreciate these rare days of sunlight. Like King Akhnaten of ancient Egypt, we are sun-worshippers, in our own way. As pharaoh wrote more than 3,000 years ago in his Great Hymn to Aten, the Sun God:
“You created the world according to your desire, while you were alone:
All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
Whatever is on earth, going upon its feet,
And what is on high, flying with its wings.”
The birds—who, after all, are descended from reptilian-like dinosaurs—seem to love the sun as much as we do. They bask in the warmth heating up their feathers to glowing temperatures.
I say “glowing” because the reds, oranges, and yellows of our more colorful residents seem to radiate their own light from within, rather than merely reflect light from an outside source.

Such was my impression of a pair of Yellow-headed Blackbirds who sprang forth from the Main Pond, leaped into the blue sky, and soared across my path the other day. The male’s Rudolph Valentino eyes were the black of burnt coal, the yellow of his head and breast like a solar flare, the white of his wing patches nearly incandescent.
A living bonfire of beauty that lifts the spirits of all who can catch the sun.

On the Move

May 3rd, 2012
A mighty river of birds is flooding our state right now, a sea of migration as inexorable as the tides. Each night, birds by the million leap into the sky from their winter homes throughout the tropics and deserts and plains of the south. With only the power from their own tiny muscles and—if they’re lucky—an occasional helpful tailwind, they fly hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles in one go, arriving at their waystations at dawn, exhausted, thirsty, hungry.
We see them here at the Fill every day now, clinging to a likely branch, perched on a trembling stem, searching for a meal that will replenish their stores of fat. Many of the birds are making this epic journey north for the first time in their lives. Many more have done it before and know the way. Their songs fill the morning with sound, sweet for some, raspy for others, each species singing a different tune, following a slightly different pattern of travel, of life.

Male Lazuli Bunting at the Fill.

Take a moment to listen, to search the next quaking twig you see to spot a little shape that may pop into view for only a second. Give the traveler a nod or a smile, congratulate the visitor on coming this far, encourage the ones who still have farther to go. The birds won’t care, but you might. Because for one small moment, you will be the conscious witness of a true wonder of nature, and in that moment, you will rejoin the natural world in which we all live.

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