Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shore Birds

Knowing Audubon wrote that he felt incomplete if he didn't kill 100 birds a day is shocking enough. That he was able to do it is even more of a wonder, first for the question of how (I assume he shot them down), and second---where did he find them? That was the 19th century. It's a sad commentary on the pollution and habitat destruction of the intervening generations that I can't, in the 21st century, imagine such an abundance of any one species, unless in a migrating group. I was on the porch or dock almost all day today and did not come close to seeing 100 birds. Those I remember are pelicans, seagulls, hawks, a blue jay, that purple woodpecker, and a cute tufted titmouse that kept pecking and flapping at my car's side view mirror. I'm surprised that I see and hear many fewer birds here than at home. Different kinds, but fewer in number. Aside from the shorebirds over the water, only the woodpeckers and jays in the trees between backporch and bay. Where are the swallows of last year?

Question: Who says "ta whittle weeet?" One loner I hear only at night, including the night I arrived. An owl of some kind? That particular voice not described in PFG, but it sounds owl-like. And in the daytime, somebody I can't see sounds like a loud cat meowing. Only one. dkm

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