The book Bright Wings – An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, has flaps on its front and back covers that when opened give the book an impressive wingspan. The anthologist is my man Billy Collins, who paired his talent with the artistic Audubon ornithologist David Allen Sibley, to hatch this beautiful collection. However, in a recently acquired habit, I assessed the parity in the poetry assembled through the table of contents. Out of more than 100 poems, 37 were penned by women. Hmmm. My feathers ruffled. Continue reading
Lake Huron, summer, 2018
I met my Waterloo in the loo of a Waterloo, Ontario Shopper’s Drug Mart.
“It’s Senior’s Day,” I said to my husband and daughter. Presciently, on my list was a large bottle of Extra-strength Advil. Lured by the 20% discount and bonus points on my loyalty card, we stopped en route to Point Pelee National Park.
For years, I’ve wanted to visit Point Pelee in early May to witness the massive annual spring migration of song birds heading north for the summer. Our Air BnB waited for us in Kingsville. We’d signed up for tours and workshops offered by Friends of Point Pelee. Binoculars and journals were packed. We were ready. Continue reading
We walk in a temple of green. If I was a perfumer I would describe the aroma as a blend of sawdust from mulched dead ash trees, blackened leaves dribbling at water’s edge warmed with pine needles and finished with a hint of irises and clover.
Black Crowned Night Heron
The water birds are blase about our presence. Two common mergansers with their punk rock feathers streaming from the back of their heads sit placidly on the shore as we approach. Further in the green glow of underbrush a Black Crowned Night Heron holds his pose giving us his profile. A pair of Wood Ducks confidently ignore us as we tiptoe closer to take their photo.
Above us the birdsong is the sound of a tuning symphony. I can’t pick out a single note that I recognize.
Mud Lake – an undrained swamp in the heart of Ottawa.
An American Goldfinch undulates from tree to tree. Five dive and swoop across a small clearing as though the sun released a few rays and turned them into birds
Imagine the smell.
Cedar Waxwings leap into the air in a weird see-saw flight from branch to branch. They reach up with their beaks to catch insects and then slap their wings together, which sound like fingers snapping, and then see-saw to the opposite tree whistling as they go. I’ve never heard their call before nor have I seen them feeding on anything other than seeds in our backyard feeder.
I feel like a birdwatcher again. It makes me happy to pay attention to something else other than work and worries.