Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Slice of Life Tuesday: Kingbirds

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.)

Source: https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/galleries/small-landbirds/gray-kingbird-tyrannus-dominicensis/

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.)

Eastern Kingbird, source, eBird.com

Western Kingbird, source, eBird.com

Wordsworth wrote, "My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky." In college I learned that the poem is about perception and memory, and I'm sure it is, but it's also about how something beautiful, and beyond yourself, can give you a moment of joy on a sad day. My heart leaps up when I behold a kingbird. 

You can read other people's slices for today here.


mbhmaine said...

Ah, Ruth, I think of you and Haiti so often. I'm glad that you're finding comfort in the kingbirds. We have them here, too, and I love that we share that appreciation and the heart leap that comes from watching the birds.

Amy Ellerman said...

So true! What a timely reminder to look for the beauty around us in all moments--even the difficult ones. Wishing you (and everyone in Haiti) as many of these moments as possible right now.