Yesterday morning I was on my way to a meeting, looking up as always just in case I could spy some birds. Suddenly I saw, on a wire just on the other side of the wall that surrounds our campus, not one, not two, but four Gray Kingbirds.
Times have been rough lately here in Haiti. In addition to the stuff that's in the news (earthquake, tropical storm, assassination of the president, political impasse, to name a few), there have been some challenges in my own life too. But there's nothing like the lift a beautiful bird gives me. (See the photo below, borrowed from FocusingOnWildlife.com.)
Seeing these birds reminded me that this past summer in the US, I saw their cousins, the Eastern Kingbird and the Western Kingbird, or what I thought of as a matched set of kingbirds. I saw the Eastern for the first time in Kentucky, on a day in June when the news in Haiti reported 102 new cases of COVID, plus street demonstrations demanding that kidnappers release yet another victim. It's an elegant bird, with a lovely white edging to its tail. (See photo below.) Then I saw the Westerns, a pair of them, at a rest stop in South Dakota. That was the day in July when we had woken in a motel room to the news of the assassination. First I heard them, and when I located the source of the sound, I saw the birds flying together in a kind of synchronized dance. They had a similar head shape to the others, but these have some yellow on them. (See photo below.)