Oh, remember me, my darling, when spring is in the air,
and the bald-headed birds are whispering everywhere;
when you see them walking southward in their dirty underwear —
the Tennessee Birdwalk!
Now, why can’t my bald-headed birds do a spot of walking? Would it kill them to plant their murderous talons on terra firma, just for a moment, and give me a little strut? I’d kill to see an eagle do the Tennessee Birdwalk. I wouldn’t even mind if it roughed me up a bit, or bird-limed my head — wait, scratch that. I’d totally mind. It’s very hard to live down a stupid bird story. I still catch the occasional barb over the unidentified bird (possibly a cassowary) that bit my bum and stole my lunch, at Birdland — oh, and the swan that pecked my face, when Mother tried to take pictures of its cygnets. And the grackle that stole my burger-top at Sonic, and the sparrow that got stuck in my hair. And let’s not forget that fateful trip to Sherkston Beach, where seagulls beshat nearly EVERYONE. That’s still the stuff of family legend, twenty years after the fact. I didn’t even get limed, but I still catch the brunt of the ribbing — and why should that be? Because, cleverly anticipating the G-52 bombers, I brought a parasol, which is not not fussy, but sensible. Sensible!
That is to say, I’ve been SOL with the shy birds, today. First, I pursued a bald eagle to the Stamps Landing ferry stop, where I stood and watched it sail blissfully over Granville Island and the downtown area. Then, it doubled back, and I chased it across Moberly Road, into the grounds of the building across the street, and up a flight of stairs, at which point I lost sight of it amidst the evergreens. Bite me, baldy.
With no more eagles to chase, I looped back to a quiet garden bench, where I’ve had good luck spotting chickadees. But it wasn’t a chickadee I was after, today. There’s this other bird, about the size and shape of a chickadee, but with a coal-black head, a yellow beak, and a twitchy tail. I don’t know what it is. I’ve only ever caught fleeting glimpses of it, as it shoots from one patch of cover to the next. It has a thin, high call, like tweeeeeee!, and it likes rhododendron bushes. It can be made to whistle, on command — it responds to every pssh-pssh-pssh with a tweeeeeee! — but it declines to show its face. One day, I’m going to see this bird, identify it, and add it to my list. If I see it in a well-lit area, and it stands still for a while, I might even get its photograph.
Birds I did see, on my walk:
* Canada geese
* Black-capped chickadees
* Song sparrows
* One sad-looking house sparrow, standing in a puddle
* European starlings
* One American robin, high in a tree.
And a couple of birdie shots — just a goose and a hummingbird, I’m afraid. I tried to get the starlings and the robin, but they were too high up.