Sunday, October 31, 2021

Birdtober: Links to all the poems!


In this post you can access all my Birdtober content in one place, all 31 days of birdy poems and photos and facts!


1: Antillean Palm-Swift

2: White-necked Crow

3: Bee-eater

4: Brown Creeper 

5: Hornbill

6: Common Grackle 

7: Haitian Cave Rail

8: Common Yellowthroat 

9: Great Blue Heron

10: Western Grebe 

11: Dickcissel

12: Canada Goose 

13: Fox Sparrow

14: Cuckoo 

15: Gray Catbird

16: Vervain Hummingbird 

17: Blue-footed Booby

18: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 

19: Scarlet Tanager

20: Mallard 

21: Frogmouth

22: American Woodcock 

23: Black-crowned Palm Tanager

24: Bowerbird 

25: White-throated Dipper

26: Ring-necked Pheasant 

27: African Pied Wagtail

28: Crested Caracara 

29: American Redstart

30: Limpkin

31: Flamecrest 

Birdtober Day Thirty-One: Flamecrest

 

I don't know how the prompts for Birdtober were chosen, or why some are general families and some are super-specific. This last one is super-specific, an island endemic, a tiny bird that lives only in Taiwan. It's quite appropriate, I think, because to me the whole point of learning to identify these wonderful creatures is that there's no such thing as a generic bird. Every single one is a certain species, a certain type of bird with specific habits and diet and habitat. Like people. You can only think people are generic if you aren't paying attention.


Flamecrest
Fire-headed
Hovers in conifers
In mountainous Taiwan forest
Flamecrest


© Ruth Bowen Hersey


Photo Source: eBird.com

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Birdtober Day Thirty: Artist's Choice

 

 

Limpkin, May 1st, Frères, Haiti


At 5:30 one morning in May
my friend heard a haunting, wailing sound,
some kind of swamp monster no doubt.
She wasn’t in the wilderness,
but not far off a busy road,
on a seminary campus,
near the Police Academy.
And yet, she heard that sound.
Was it a bird, she wondered?
We listened on my phone
to sounds of birds of our region.
It was something big, she said.
Some kind of heron?
A White-necked Crow?
A Palm Crow?
She listened carefully and shook her head.
No, she said, it sounded like this
crying, grating, rattling…


Finally someone suggested we try
the Limpkin,
and sure enough,
there was the sound,
once heard, never forgotten,
a prehistoric creaking scream
across the waking city.
It’s the sound they use in movies
when they want something truly exotic and jungly,
the sound of the Hippogriff.
Brown, with a long, slightly curving bill,
protecting its territory
with a haunting, wailing sound,
at 5:30 one morning in May.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey



You can listen to the Limpkin's sound here.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Poetry Friday: Birdtober Day Twenty-Nine: American Redstart

 

This is day twenty-nine of Birdtober, and I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself for posting daily poems all month, in the middle of some pretty challenging days. Today's prompt, American Redstart, is a favorite bird for me, and I've already posted two of my poems here in which these lovely warblers appear. You can read them here and here. The American Redstarts are in Haiti right now, and yesterday, though my yard was almost devoid of birds, I saw two of them.


Today's poem has been writing itself in my head since the day in July it describes. It happened on the day after the assassination of the Haitian president (the "Haitian news" in the poem), and so our minds were filled with both the pain of that recent event and the joy of being with both of our children together for the first time in many months. I'm sure I'll write more about that day. 


American Redstart. Photo Credit: Molly Hogan

My scrubby yard in Haiti

Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota



American Redstarts


In July,
in a North American summer,
Haitian money in our pockets,
Haitian news in our hearts,
we watched American Redstarts
in Spearfish Canyon.

We’d watched them many times
in our scrubby yard in Haiti
in a Caribbean winter,
flitting back and forth
from the neem tree
to the ficus
to the calabash tree,
and now,
here they were
in the Black Hills spruce.

Hard to imagine how they could thrive
in two such different habitats,
but then,
as we looked from the flash of reddish orange
to our two grownup babies
waiting ahead of us on the trail,
we remembered how our babies
had thrived in the same two habitats,
Haiti and the US,
flying back and forth like birds.

Being a baby,
bird or human,
is risky.
Migration is risky.
Some human babies get stopped at the border,
and some get sent back in an airplane,
but our babies,
carried on privilege,
went back and forth,
back and forth,

And in July,
here they were
in Spearfish Canyon
walking together,
here they were, thriving.

Here we were,
and here were the American Redstarts,
who flew here in the night,
avoiding bad weather
and predators,
avoiding slamming into tall buildings,

Here they were,
showy with their black-banded tails,
flitting back and forth,
singing
as though life were all singing,
which of course it isn’t.
They were singing
and my grown up babies
were laughing,
as though life were all laughing,
which of course it isn’t.

Here we all were,
all of us,
here
in Spearfish Canyon
on a day in July,
thriving.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Here are the other Birdtober poems I've written this month:
 
 
 
Saturday: Black-crowned Palm Tanager, an island endemic that I often see in my yard
 
Sunday: Bowerbird, and its bizarre courting rituals
 
Monday: White-throated Dipper, an amazing little bird that dives for its food
 
Tuesday: Ring-necked Pheasant, the state bird of South Dakota

Wednesday: African Pied Wagtail, a bird that lives all over Africa

Thursday: Crested Caracara, and its rather disgusting eating habits





Birdtober Day Twenty-Eight: Caracara

 

There are ten species of caracaras in the world, and I've seen two of them. I chose to write about the Crested Caracara, who, as you will see, is quite the fine diner.


Caracara Gourmet

The Crested Caracara
stalks its prey on foot.
Fish, mammals, other birds:
all are on the menu.
Lizards and snakes
are favorite snacks.
It also finds carrion delightful,
with its delicate odor of rot.
And then,
barely able to contain its glee,
the Crested Caracara
flips over cowpats
in search of dessert.
With epicurean pleasure,
it munches
the dung beetles
beneath.

 

©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Photo Source: eBird.com


Information sources: here, here, here.




Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Birdtober Day Twenty-Seven: African Pied Wagtail

 

Today's prompt is the White Wagtail, a European bird, but I chose instead to write about the African Pied Wagtail. I was looking at some of my brother's Kenya checklists and clicking on random birds to see if I remembered any of them from my childhood in Kenya. Some seemed familiar, like the Lilac-breasted Roller and the Eurasian Hoopoe. And then there was this little guy, the African Pied Wagtail. I commented to my brother that it brought back a lot of memories. (We had some bird paintings on our wall back then, and maybe one of them was this bird?) He suggested I listen to the sound and said he thought that would bring back memories too -- and it did!

 

  Photo Source: eBird.com


I did more research about these African Pied Wagtails here, here, here, here, and here. And then I wrote this poem:

 


African Pied Wagtail


Before I paid attention, they were everywhere.
Before I knew what a bird was, they were part of my definition,
their song the soundtrack to my childhood games,

Little black and white birds,
wagging their tails and eating bugs,
entirely unnoticed by me.

Now, when I look them up
I learn that some people
think they bring bad luck
and others
think they bring good luck.
Maybe that means they are just neutral,
the background to whatever’s going to happen,
there in good and bad.

Motacilla aguimp,
little mover with a wimple,
moving about unobtrusively
like helpful nuns,
or ubiquitous newsprint,
just there, getting things done,
without taking too much attention for themselves.

Little black and white birds,
wagging their tails and eating bugs,
in a far-off place where I used to live.

©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Reading Update

It's been so long since I've written a Reading Update post that I have sixteen books to report. I don't know if I'll get to all of them today, but time to make a start at least.


Book #72 of the year was Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, A Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World, by Noah Strycker. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in which Strycker spends a year traveling the world in an attempt to see 5,000 species of birds, which is about half of the species that exist, in twelve months. Here's Strycker on birding: "It's a tough activity to pigeonhole, though many have tried; birding is hunting, collecting, and gambling rolled into one. Nobody can decide whether birdwatching constitutes an addiction, a release, or just a game played by khaki-clad eco-nerds." And here: "Birding is about appreciating life's infinite details -- and if subtlety is beauty, then a birder will never run short of wonder." True! True! At the end of the text, full of wonderful stories of the friends he made, the adventures he had, and the birds, you've only read 19% of the book. The rest of it is the list of all the gear he used, the birds he saw, and more birds he saw. Well, Noah Strycker, I've seen some birds you haven't, because you didn't come to Hispaniola! Eat your heart out! 


Book #73 was The Crossing Places, by Elly Griffiths, the first in the Ruth Galloway series, murder mysteries about a forensic archaeologist. I really enjoyed this, and tried to read the second one right away, but the library only had it as an audiobook. If subsequent books are as absorbing, I might add Griffiths to my mystery authors list along with P.D. James and Elizabeth George and Louise Penny. 


Book #74 was The Scent Keeper, by Erica Bauermeister. I enjoyed this, a recommendation from a friend, very much. I wish I had written about it before allowing it to vanish from my Kindle, as I can't quote anything. 


Book #75 was Home by Marilynne Robinson, and #77 was another in the same series, Jack. (The other books in the series are Gilead and Lila. I read both in 2015, but, frustratingly, I didn't record anything about them.) Robinson draws her characters so that you experience them the way we experience real people; we know some about them, but only in pieces. They are sometimes inexplicable and always imperfect. They are people with a lot of beauty in them, but often unable to be at their best with those they love most. I would like to go back and read all four of these books together. They are challenging but nourishing.


Book #76 was The Limits of the World, by Jennifer Acker. It's about an Indian family that emigrates from Nairobi, Kenya, to the United States. The family has secrets and complexities, and some of these come to light when an accident sends everyone back to Nairobi. The main character, Sunil, is a philosophy student struggling with his dissertation and with how to live. There's a lot to this book, and I think I gulped it a little too quickly.


Book #78 was intended to be read more quickly. It was Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, by the poet Maggie Smith. Although I'd rather read Smith's poems, I did enjoy this collection of little affirmations she wrote to herself each day, and published on Twitter, as she was going through a divorce. Although she was responding to a divorce, the pieces she wrote apply much more widely than that. I took photos of some that struck me most, and here are a few: 





Well, I'm going to stop there for today, and I'll write about the rest of the books on the list another time.

Slice of Life Tuesday: Birdtober Day Twenty-Six: Pheasant

 


Ring-necked Pheasant, from eBird.com

 
 
Pheasant


It was late in the morning
on July 7th
along I-90 West
in Aurora County,
South Dakota,
that I saw
my first
Ring-necked Pheasant.
I’d seen them in paintings before
and on plates
and in fall scenes in books,
looking picturesque,
but in the first week of July,
there one was
in real life.
Beside the interstate,
there was the state bird of
South Dakota:
covered in different patterns
as though its splendor
came from a thrift shop,
likely destined to be 
shot 
and eaten 
this fall,
possibly squawking,
but I couldn’t say,
because we kept on driving,
kept on driving
away from
my first
ordinary,
spectacular,
glorious
Ring-necked Pheasant.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey

Monday, October 25, 2021

Birdtober Day Twenty-Five: White-throated Dipper

 

White-throated Dippers live in Europe and parts of Asia, always by running streams. They dive and catch food underwater. Elegant little brown and white birds, they have been chosen as the national bird of Norway. I've included a video at the end of the way they are equally at home on land, in the water, and in the air. I was impressed by their superpowers and wrote about them in my haiku.


Photo Source: eBird.com


White-throated Dipper

 

In its element
On land and underwater,
Then takes to the air.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey

 

I read about White-throated Dippers here and here





Sunday, October 24, 2021

Birdtober Day Twenty-Four: Bowerbird

 

There are twenty species of bowerbirds, and what they are best known for is in their name: bowers. They build and decorate elaborate art pieces to lure female birds. They fill these with objects, both natural and man-made that they gather like toddlers, and they spend hours rearranging and spiffing up their creations. 


After my poem, which includes some advice to the bowerbirds which they really do not need, you'll see two videos. The first shows some bizarre and hilarious behavior, a Satin Bowerbird playing with his blue objects, and then some bandit birds stealing them. The second reveals what the Flame Bowerbird does once he gets the girl to view his bower. 



Advice to a Bowerbird


If you want a chance at mating
Better do some decorating.
Better set about collecting
If you’d like to start connecting.
Gather lovely shells, stones, flowers,
Plastic baubles; build your bowers.
Better do some decorating
If you want a chance at mating.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Here's some general information about bowerbirds.

 




 


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Birdtober Day Twenty-Three: Artist's Choice

 

 

For today I chose the Black-crowned Palm-Tanager, a frequent visitor to my yard here in Haiti. They are such pretty and distinctive birds, and they were some of the first I learned to identify from my bird book by James Bond.  In Haiti they are called Katje (four-eyes) because those white spots on their heads look like extra eyes.

 

I wrote a haiku, and I'm following it with some links to where you can see more photos, plus a video of how to draw these birds and the Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo. The video is in Spanish with English subtitles. And, bonus: it includes some lovely footage of Hispaniola at the beginning.

 

 Photo Source: eBird.com


Bouncing branch to branch
Green and black and white, hopping:
Where there’s one, there’s two


More about this species: BirdsCaribbean, Birdfinding, Katje on Wiktionnaire.




Thursday, October 21, 2021

Poetry Friday: Birdtober Day Twenty-Two: American Woodcock

 

 

Photo Source: eBird.com


 

American Woodcock


Audubon begins
with a description of
American Woodcocks
being attacked by
“mischievous boys”
while the mother woodcock
plays dead.

He waxes eloquent
on how “healthful” a sport
shooting American Woodcocks
truly is.

And later,
he drools
as he imagines
a plate of delicious
American Woodcocks
consumed with a mug of cider.

And then there are the American Woodcock nicknames:
timberdoodle
bogsucker
hokumpoke
Labrador twister.
Even eBird calls them “goofy.”

Poor American Woodcock.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Sources: American Woodcock, Birds of America, American Woodcock, Wikipedia

 


 

Here are the other Birdtober birds so far:


Week 2, with a link to Week 1: here.

Saturday: Vervain Hummingbird

Sunday: Blue-footed Booby

Monday: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 

Tuesday: Scarlet Tanager

Wednesday: Mallard 

Thursday: Frogmouth

 

Thank you to everyone who has expressed concern about the situation in Haiti. Things are bad and not getting better. You are hearing and reading about a dramatic kidnapping in the media only because this time it happened to a group of US citizens. Such kidnappings, equally dramatic and even more so, have been going on for a long time. One of the reasons I took on this Birdtober project was to lift my eyes upward from my surroundings. It's hard to remain optimistic and to maintain trust in God, but we're doing our best, and birds and poetry help every time!

 

Jama has today's roundup! 

Birdtober Day Twenty-One: Frogmouth

 

Tawny Frogmouth

Source: eBird.com


Large Frogmouth

Source: eBird.com


While researching this bird family, which includes fourteen species, I learned that this year, some scholars of Experimental Aesthetics in Germany did a study which found that this bird is the "most Instagrammable bird" in the world (Frogmouth article on Wikipedia). That's the source of my poem. 


The Frogmouth Speaks


Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful,
Because people love us and post us on the socials,
Because we elicit likes a-plenty,
Because we are the most muppet-like of all the birds -
We can’t help it if we’re irresistible.
We’re just over here catching bugs
and beating small vertebrates to death,
just,
you know,
being Podargiformes.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Birdtober Day Twenty: Mallard

 

 

Male unique, female
sometimes misidentified,
except by ducklings.

©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Photo Source: eBird.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Slice of Life Tuesday: Birdtober Day Nineteen: Tanager

 

Scarlet Tanager


In a forest in Georgia
on a Friday afternoon in July
we followed the Scarlet Tanager.

Again and again and again
we heard the bird,
always from somewhere else.

I was with some of the men in my life
(husband, son, brother)
as we chased the
bright red male Scarlet Tanager,
playing sounds with our phones.

We were on the point of giving up.
My sister-in-law was waiting for us
with my impatient nephew
and it looked as though
this quarry was not to be found,
at least not today…

And then, suddenly,
there he was:
red
red
red
just as advertised.
The most scarlet sight imaginable,
worth the search.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey



Photo Source: eBird.com


Monday, October 18, 2021

Birdtober Day Eighteen: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


Yellow-bellied
Hole drillers
Cat callers
Bug killers

Red-headed
Loud drummers
Sap wells
Feed hummers

Noisy-pounding
Fine designs
Black and white
Like street signs

Co-parenting
Migrators
Baby feeders
Excavators

Sap-sucking
Like fruit
Y-b Eses
Are a hoot! 


Photo Source: eBird.com

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Birdtober Day Seventeen: Booby

 

 

Today's poem is a story from my childhood, and it's followed by a must-see video of the Blue-footed Booby's courting dance. 

 

Photo Source: eBird.com



Blue-footed Booby



I must have been ten or eleven
when, looking at a bird picture,
I announced to my family
that this was a
Blue-footed Booby.

My parents laughed,
assuming, I’m sure,
that I had made up the name.

Clearly,
the bird was
blue-footed;
any booby could see that.
Baby blue feet
gleamed in the sun,
standing out against
the gray rocks.

But a booby?
Really?
Well, yes,
according to
National Geographic,
probably where
I first encountered this bird.
The name comes from bobo,
stupid in Spanish.

The story
became an instant part
of family lore.
I, no booby,
knew a Blue-footed Booby
when I saw one.
(I wasn’t quite as proud of that fact
as a Blue-footed Booby
is of its
glorious
cerulean
feet.)

 

©Ruth Bowen Hersey


 

Sources: Silversea, National Geographic

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Birdtober Day Sixteen: Artist's Choice

 

Today I decided to write about the Vervain Hummingbird, an island endemic. There are two subspecies, one on Jamaica and one on Hispaniola. These are the second smallest birds in the world, only surpassed in smallness by the Bee Hummingbird from Cuba. Vervains are noisy, and they like to sit on the highest point in the area, looking around. I think it makes them feel Large and In Charge. 


Photo Source: eBird.com


I thought I knew all about the Vervain already, but just a little bit of research revealed many more interesting facts. For example, I didn't know that this miniature bird (6 to 7 centimeters long) attacks much larger species; Vervains have been observed attacking Mangrove Cuckoos, Northern Mockingbirds, and even American Kestrels! I really think these guys have no idea how little they are. A male will defend a territory of 20 by 20 meters. I even learned why I've never once seen a Vervain at my hummingbird feeders; the flowers they typically feed from are much smaller than the ones the feeders imitate. (I'll put a list of my sources further down in the post.) 


As part of the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival put on by BirdsCaribbean earlier this year, there was an Endemic Bird of the Day. On the day when the Vervain Hummingbird was featured, I read a description of its sound as being "like tiny sword fights." I can't find that page any more, but fortunately I wrote down that perfect phrase, so I had it to use in my poem. (Sometimes I think the best part of birding is the writing. Scientists work as hard as poets to use just the right words!)


The form is the 4x4, which I learned about from my Poetry Friday friend Denise Krebs. (You can read about the rules here.) 



Vervain Hummingbird

 

Tiny monarch
sits in splendor
sings out fiercely
like small sword fights.

Fearless fighter,
Tiny monarch
shrinks from nothing,
needs nobody.

He’d just as soon
leave out “tiny,”
Tiny monarch
feels enormous

As he rules his
territory,
bow down to the
Tiny monarch.

 

©Ruth Bowen Hersey



Sources: Wikipedia, Beauty of Birds, and BirdsCaribbean.

 

Here are some pictures I took with my phone of a Vervain on her nest, which is a little bigger than a thimble. The pictures aren't the same quality as the ones from eBird, but I was pretty happy to get this close without annoying her. She had built her nest right above where we were meeting for our outdoor church service because of Covid. It was so fun to watch her go back and forth to her nest as we had our meeting. I never failed to take my binoculars to church during that time! 

 

See her nest, right in the middle of the photo?

This photo is a blown-up version of the next one, so you can see the bird's head.
And there she is in her nest! I didn't want to get any closer, but it sure looks to me as though there are babies in there. They are born naked and blind, not looking at all like lovely little birds, but more like teeny rodents. (Sorry, mama bird. I don't mean to insult your babies.)


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Poetry Friday: Birdtober Day Fifteen: Gray Catbird

 

I've seen the Gray Catbird in the US, but although eBird says they are sometimes found here in Haiti, I haven't seen one here. I wrote a cinquain about the Gray Catbird, and since it's so short, you'll have time to click on a couple of my other Birdtober posts from the week! (I especially like my cuckoos from yesterday, and I'm sorry they landed on a Thursday, when hardly anybody reads my blog!)


Gray Catbird. Photo Source: eBird.com


Gray Catbird


Catbird
Grey, black beret,
Perches at top of tree,
Meowing like a marooned cat
CatBIRD.


I read about this bird here, here, and here


You can see links to the birds from the first week of Birdtober here


On Saturday I wrote about the Great Blue Heron here.

On Sunday it was the Grebe family here.

On Monday I posted a poem about the Dickcissel here.

On Tuesday I wrote about Canada Geese.

On Wednesday I posted a Fox Sparrow haiku here.

And on Thursday there were TWO cuckoo poems here - I wrote about the Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo and the Smooth-billed Ani, plus shared a song from Mexico about the Smooth-billed Ani! A bonanza of cuckoos.



Bridget is hosting today's roundup. I'm excited to have a poem in her new anthology - head on over there to read what it's all about!


Birdtober Day Fourteen: Cuckoo

 

There are 150 species of cuckoos in the world. I've chosen to write about two that we have here in Haiti, both of which I have seen a lot. Yes, that's right: there are TWO poems for today! Exciting, isn't it? 

 

I wrote about the Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo and the Smooth-billed Ani. Actually, the poem about the Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo is one I wrote last year. I'm not listing any sources for that one, because it's just about my own experience with this bird.



Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo

Photo Source: Merlin app


Bird Photography

Whoosh!
The Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo touches down in the yard.
He struts around from here to there,
Thrusts out his long, magnificent, black tail,
Its spots of white shining in the sun,
Sidles along the garden wall
Like an actor about to go onstage,
Lifts his graceful bill and bats his red eyes.
Then he jumps onto the tree,
Hops jauntily from branch to branch,
Up,
Up,
Up,
Until he reaches the pinnacle
And flies away.

The whole time
I’m breathlessly snapping photos,
Like an eager autograph-seeker,
Trying to freeze the moment.
Click! Click! Click!

But when he flees the scene,
Headed for his next engagement,
And I look at my phone,
I’m left with images of
Leaves,
Limbs,
Concrete blocks.
In one picture, the bird’s back is somewhat visible,
If you know where to look.

Why am I disappointed?
Why do I need pictures?
To show him off?
To post on social media?
To prove to you he was there?

He left me, his most devoted fan,
With
A story,
A memory of a performance,
An unscheduled
Unforgettable
Afternoon
Appearance.
And, best of all,
For me alone.

 

©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Smooth-billed Ani, Photo Source eBird.com


Even though I've also seen lots of Smooth-billed Anis, we don't have them where I live, so I don't see them regularly. I did quite a bit of reading for this poem. Here are my sources: Smooth-billed Ani on Audubon, Smooth-billed Ani on Wikipedia, Smooth-billed Ani on WhatBird.com. All those sites have great photos of these unlikely-looking birds. I learned that this bird is sometimes called El Pijul. Stay tuned after the poem for a performance of a song from Mexico, and a link to an English translation of the lyrics. (It doesn't make much sense, but the guitar playing is impressive!)


Smooth-billed Ani


A cooch of anis

From Florida to South America
The Smooth-billed Anis’ esoterica
Is widely known. Just for example
Their habitat is very ample
Because they do enjoy a clearing,
Deforestation thus appearing
To them a boon. They have blue eggs
And run around on sturdy legs.


An orphanage of anis

They live in groups, build nests together,
They’re thick of bill and black of feather,
They lay their eggs in giant stacks
(Thirty together is the max)
In layers packed with grass and leaves,
And each new chick that’s born receives
Great care from all the grown-up birds.
They cry, “Oooleeeek” in lieu of words.


A silliness of anis

In Surinam, reportedly,
Eating this bird’s believed to be
A cure for asthma. They eat ticks,
Termites, frogs, lizards, quite a mix;
Sometimes ride on a grazing beast
And on the bugs they find, they feast.
They are disheveled and fly badly,
(But better than you, so cheer them madly).

Cooch, orphanage, or silliness,
They live in groups of ten or less,
They hop about and seem quite happy
They’re cuckoos, loopy, fun, and flappy.

 

©Ruth Bowen Hersey

 


Here are the lyrics in Spanish and English.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Birdtober Day Thirteen: Fox Sparrow

 


Photo Source: eBird.com


The Fox Sparrow gets its name from its coloring. I've never seen one, but I read about them here, here, here, and here. That's a lot of reading for seventeen syllables, which is all I ended up writing (one mediocre haiku). After the haiku, you'll find a link to someone else's poem, which includes the line: "A sooty fox sparrow embodies happiness." 
 

Fox Sparrow


Rusty bird scratches,
Hunts bugs and seeds on the ground
Jumps, sings, nests down low.
 
©Ruth Bowen Hersey


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Slice of Life Tuesday: Birdtober Day Twelve: Goose

 

My son sent me pictures of Canada Geese on his campus. He says they are everywhere, and loud. 

 

The perfect goose poem already exists, and I shared it recently here. I wrote a quatrain anyway.



 
There go the migrating geese,
Rending all the air with cries,
Writing on the blue with vees,
Cries and vees that fill the skies.

©Ruth Bowen Hersey