birdwatching

How to Know the Birds: No. 20, Alien Fairies in the Big City

Before we proceed any further, let’s play a little game. Let’s pretend we don’t know where we are. We scan around for clues and we see: Rush hour traffic—check. Pedestrians—check. Palm trees—check. Tall buildings—check. So far, so good. We’re plausibly in any one of those five densely populated cities. Now take a look directly overhead:

How to Know the Birds: No. 20, Alien Fairies in the Big City2019-12-07T20:33:53-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 19, A Big (Little) White (Blue) Egret (Heron)

The bird stood on the railing just beyond the high-rise hotel where I was staying. Moments earlier, a speedwalker had stopped for a moment to marvel with me at the beautiful beast. “We get a lot of those around here,” he informed me, sensing correctly that I wasn’t a local.

How to Know the Birds: No. 19, A Big (Little) White (Blue) Egret (Heron)2019-12-07T20:34:35-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 13, Gannets—Take 2

Call me a late bloomer, but I can finally tell you that the experience of being in a gannet colony is overwhelming, a transcendence, an imponderable conjoining of sensory overload and perfect inner calm.

How to Know the Birds: No. 13, Gannets—Take 22019-12-07T21:23:27-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 10, Dvořák’s Vireo

A few years ago, I was, for whatever reason, studying the score of the scherzo of Dvořák’s quartet, and it struck me that the celebrated “tanager” passage, measures 21–24, is an absolutely terrible transcription of Piranga olivacea, the scarlet tanager. However, it provides an eerily close match to an utterly different-looking bird species...

How to Know the Birds: No. 10, Dvořák’s Vireo2024-03-04T16:43:11-05:00

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