Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Slice of Life Tuesday: Bird Names

Today I looked through a list of birds from Paraguay.


The colors! Rufous, flavescent, glaucous, cinerious, vinaceous, violaceous, azure, ochre, sooty, slaty, fuscous, olivaceous, saffron, cinnamon.

The tails! Silky-tailed, large-tailed, dusky-tailed, short-tailed, sharp-tailed, streamer-tailed, shear-tailed, swallow-tailed, wedge-tailed, strange-tailed.

The descriptions! Red-spectacled, blaze-winged, spot-billed, red-gartered, pearly-breasted, versicolored, ocellated, solitary, rough-legged, ticking, chocolate-vented.

There are antwrens and spinetails and seedeaters and thornbirds and foliage-gleaners. Woodpeckers and woodcreepers and crakes and tyrants, tanagers and finches. 

So many birds! I looked up lots of them on eBird, the White-naped Xenopsaris and the Greenish Schiffornis and the Plain Tyrannulet, the White-shouldered Fire-eye (those are some fiery fire-eyes!). The Variegated Antpitta, the Wren-like Rushbird ("distinctive but often rather skulking little bird"), the Yellow-collared Macaw, the Rusty-backed Spinetail. 

I just kept exclaiming in amazement. All that variety! All those careful descriptions! All those thousands and thousands of sightings of birds that I've never heard of! 

You don't have to do anything to the list to turn it into a poem, just read it as is. I suppose that would be true of a list of birds from anywhere, but the less familiar the birds are to you, the more strange and exotic their names will sound.


Does the world seem dull and predictable? Grab a list of birds from somewhere far away. Look just a few of them up on eBird. Listen to their sounds. See if you can help saying "Wow" a lot.


Chris & Dave said...

You’ve enlightened me with the idea of bird names as poems - your list sounds so rhythmic and poetic. Now I must go check out ebirds. And dream of one day actually seeing these beauties.

Celia Fisher said...

Thanks for the slice and the idea of bird names to uplift you. The names of the colours are truly amazing, olivaceous! How lovely it would be to actually see some of them.