CUC Bird Walk Report: Sun Oct 26

On our bird walk today kept with the theme of death as this was also the morning of our Dias de los Muertos service. As we reviewed the species on the grounds, we also took stock of the meaning of death, and of life. Birds are so often metaphors of both.
"One man looks at a dying bird and thinks there's nothing but unanswered pain. The death's got the final word, it's laughing at him. Another man sees that same bird, feels the glory, feels something smiling through it." (Film: "The Thin Red Line")
To bring this question to light I had a stuffed (taxidermied) skin of a female starling to show the group. European starlings are tied to death - they have very high annual mortality in the wild, and are often given credit for the demise of native species (they are introduced from Europe and Asia). We spoke of how some see the beauty in starlings, and others not. Crows too are linked to death and bad luck, and as if to offer their opinion of this, a murder of 33 crows flew over during the walk (for crows, a flock is called a "murder").

During the walk we also saw an immature red-tailed hawk. These juveniles have a very tough go of it their first year as they learn to hunt and face the winter. Some studies show over 50% of first year birds never make it to their second year.

During our walks we always stop by the memorial garden, where thanks to someone special, it is being refurbished. There we spoke of those we had known and lost over the years.

The stillness and sadness did not last for long, for the sun and colors of the leaves were bright, as was the company we kept.

Please join us for our next bird walk: Sun Nov 23.


Today’s sightings:

1 Titmouse
4 Mourning doves
4 American robins
1 House Sparrow
1 Yellow-rumped warblers
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 European starling
4 Canada Geese
2 White-breasted nuthatch
1 House finch
1 Blue jay
1 Downy woodpecker
1 White-throated sparrow
7 Pine siskins
33 Crows
1 Turkey vulture
1 Red-tailed hawk
1 Downy woodpecker

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