So I was thinking, If only there were a blog chronicling all the cool nature stuff happening around Brooklyn...every day, including the days (approximately 360 per year) when I am too lazy/preoccupied/distracted to cross the street to Prospect Park with my binoculars and find out for myself. Well...here he his, my Brooklyn Nature Dude!
He's Rob J, and he both writes and does the jaw-droppingly gorgeous photographs for "The City Birder," now a permanent link to your right. Although he looks here more like a suspicious new cast member on "Lost," he is a true Bird Geek, as witness this list of guys he observed from his Park Slope roof deck yesterday: "Great blue heron, osprey, northern goshawk, laughing gull, herring gull, rock pigeon, mourning dove, chimney swift, blue jay, American crow, northern mockingbird, European starling, house finch, house sparrow." This is why it is so wonderful to go bird-watching with a Bird Geek: You actually see birds. It's like somebody already did the "find the hidden birdies" puzzle in your Highlights magazine with a fluourescent Magic Marker. My list from Rob's roof would have been: "Rock pigeon, European starling, house sparrow." I plan to check City Birder daily to see what I'm missing as I sit screen-sucking in my third-floor study/studio, glancing up at the window where I'm visited by the occasional sparrow/pigeon/starling (couldn't they just breed into one convenient invasive species called the "sparlingeon"?) If Rob were here, he would probably see an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker eating termites out of my backyard telephone pole.
Not that the CrazyStable has any shortage of avian life. I try to keep our two feeders stocked in honor of my late Aunt Louie, who was such a passionate bird feeder that she would buy giblets to leave up the road from her country place for the vultures. (There was one particular vulture, she insisted, that looked old and weak and in need of nutritional assistance.) I don't go that far, but the supermarket seeds lure an occasional blue jay and cardinal in addition to the brawling mobs of sparrows. (For some blessed reason, the pigeons and starlings leave the feeders alone; they much prefer fast-food leavings, which are never in short supply at curbside.) And we've had a few Audubon Moments: I once looked down as I sat out back to see a dazzling little yellow warbler at my feet, feasting on a periwinkle-blue butterfly. And Spouse once looked out back and said, "Wow, that's a big pigeon." It was a hawk, sitting on the telephone wire, making Yummy Gut-Gobbet Feast out of a sparrow. For years, I let a few pokeweeds flourish and toss off their deep purple berries, just to thrill the mockingbirds each fall, but the subsequent Pokeweed Madness (billions of babies with foot-long taproots!) was too much, and now I just tell the mockers the hell with it.
You know, my Aunt Louie claimed there was a mockingbird that could imitate the sound of her friend's cat having a hairball. That's my kind of bird.
My little sisters, the birds, much bounden are ye unto God, your Creator, and always in every place ought ye to praise Him, for that He hath given you liberty to fly about everywhere…St. Francis of Assisi, Sermon to the Birds