Birds occupy a central part of our lives, but it’s never really just birds, is it?

There is always an “and” when it comes to birds, whether they’re introducing us to other fields of natural history, facilitating friendships, helping us learn geography—the list is endless.

This column will be about exploring the endless ways birds blend with everything else, the many “ands” of birding. As we engage those “ands,” I hope to keep learning not just about how we know the birds, but about how birds and birding connect us to so many other things.

No. 4: Birds and Mishap!

July 27th, 2021|

I learned about Snake Bight after reading about it, like so many dangerous things, on the internet: it was a recommended spot for the mangrove cuckoo. Snake Bight can have spectacular views of hundreds and sometimes thousands of wading birds and shorebirds feeding on the mudflats.

No. 3: Birds and Resistance to Corporate Aesthetics

July 13th, 2021|

The biggest thing was the way the swallows made that place theirs, disrupting the sameness—however soothing—of corporate aesthetics with…mud. And homes. And baby birds. I wouldn’t have expected to find a cliff swallow colony on the side of a hotel. Seeing that brought me real joy.

No. 2: Birds and the Surprise of the Uncommon

June 29th, 2021|

Some birds are like that, I think. You’ll live your life, and while you’re living, the bird will intersect with your own lifepath, shocking and delighting. A ballast during both the good and bad. Not a common bird, but not a once-in-a-lifetime find either. Just a bird that always surprises.

No. 1: Birds and the Surprise of the Common

June 15th, 2021|

A few weeks ago, my wife, Adrienne, quizzed me. “There’s a new study on what the four most common bird species in the world are…want to guess? One is pretty hard I think.” These four birds are the only wild bird species estimated to have populations above one billion.