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Bird of the Year, From Lyanda Haupt

Many birders play a New Year's game called "Bird of the Year." The first bird you see on January 1st becomes your theme bird for that year—one to bless your perspective, your imagination, your spirit. Author Lyanda Haupt was at first disappointed with her "bird of the year," a European Starling.... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection

A Swirl of Snow Geese

Snow Geese nest from far northeastern Russia to Greenland, in the arctic and subarctic. They winter in large flocks on the deltas of rivers in northwestern Washington, areas along the Eastern Seaboard, and throughout the Mississippi Flyway. Watching Snow Geese in flight, Barry Lopez described... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Open the Door - Barry Lopez

Barry Lopez, in his story Emory Bear Hands' Birds, wrote "Every person...had an animal companion, a sort of guardian. Even if you never noticed it, the animal knew." We know nature has the power to heal and restore. How are you connected to the natural world? Is there a child you could introduce... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

July before Dawn - Aldo Leopold

The song of this Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his Wisconsin farm in the 1940s. Sadly, Field Sparrow populations are declining rapidly. You can learn more about "The State of the Birds" from National Audubon, and the plight of the Field Sparrow in particular. read more »

Topics & Themes:  history, reflection, vocalization

Time Changes All Things

Not that long ago, Passenger Pigeons filled the skies. Some flocks, with more than a billion birds, took four days to pass overhead. Aldo Leopold called the pigeon "a biological storm." Now they are extinct, gone forever from our world. But other birds remain! This spring, go out and delight in... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Each Bird Is an Answer

Nature winnows birds. The dangers of their passage over the earth refine them continually. Their capacity to read the world, to find food and each other, are sure signs of birds' ability to meet the demands for which evolution and time have prepared them. But they are not adapted to the man-made... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, reflection

Dark-eyed Junco Pair

A female Dark-eyed Junco lands on a branch nearby, where you can admire her subtle beauty. The muted colors of her feathers. Her nearly weightless buoyancy. Her quick, bright eyes. Her tidy pink bill. Often in winter, you may see a "Slate-colored" Junco or an "Oregon" Junco. In spring, this... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Dawn Song, Spring Equinox

As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of observing birds is to hear the dawn song in spring. Early in the morning, warblers,... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

Ivan Doig on the Music of Birds

Writer Ivan Doig wrote about bird songs, including that of this Western Meadowlark, in his book, Ride with Me, Mariah Montana: "Warbles and trills and solo after solo ... the air was magically busy. None of us spoke while the songs of the birds poured undiluted. I suppose we were afraid the spate... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Ivan Doig on a Birdless World

Seattle resident and renowned author Ivan Doig reflected on a world without birds in his book-length meditation, Winter Brothers (available in the BirdNote store). "A birdless world, the air permanently fallow, is unthinkable. To be without birds would be to suffer a kind of color-blindness.... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection