Looking up

A friend has returned.

Actually, we’re not sure if its the same friend. But we are sure that it is a Sharp Shinned Hawk.

So far this week I have seen, (aside from the extraordinary geniuses that are pigeons and rock doves)…


Black Phoebes

Spotted Towhees (which at first I thought were Dark Eyed Juncos)

Yellow Rumped Warblers

Plus, White Crowned Sparrows, California Towhees, Robins, Bush Tits, Vireos, Crows, Ravens, Gulls, Blackbirds and Starlings.

I’m not mentioning all this to prove how special or lucky or in-tune I am. I’m actually not. I just pay attention. I take a break from the blah blah blah narrative in my head or the blah blah blah narrative of my friend, and when life flutters near by, I look.

This is something anyone can do (and I think, anyone should. I’m not big on “shoulding”, but in this late hour in our relationship with nature,  it seems to be imperative). Look, and then notice. What color are the feathers on the chest, wings, head and tail? Any interesting markings? How big is it? Smaller or bigger than a pigeon? Not sure? Look on the sidewalk and on top of the buildings…there’s probably one near by. What shape is the beak? Stubby for eating seeds, or sharp for piercing worms, or somewhere in between? Take a picture with your brain. Or your phone camera. Look it up in a bird book when you get home. Or go to What Bird or The Cornell Lab of Ornithology to identify online.

With knowing comes familiarity. With familiarity comes comfort. With comfort comes openness to friendship.

The recent reports about the hundreds of dead birds in Sonoma was totally ineffective as to be embarassing. It took them 5 days to identify the birds as Starlings. Before that they were only “small birds with brown and black feathers” (according to the first reports). With that description and knowing that they were in a large flock, near a highway, I immediately guessed what they were. Oh woopdeydoo! I’m so smart! No, what I actually felt was just surprised and sad. That not one investigator, highway patrol person or “authority” knew what they were until I guess Fish and Game finally got involved. Starlings are common. You’ve seen them. Lots of them, I guarantee. It really bums me out that something so near us, something that shares our air, our cafe table crumbs, our long boring drives on the highway, is still unknown.

Look up. Follow the calling. Spy. Investigate. Identify. Befriend.

Empower yourself.


10 thoughts on “Looking up

  1. I hope you don’t mind of I quote you on or more of your raindrops of wisdom at my ‘Learning to Meditate’ workshop this Saturday. And I’m certain we shared the viewing of one of those Towhee sightings at our delightful meeting last week.

    As always, much gratitude for pointing out the beauty hiding out in the blindspots.

    1. awww, i love you.

      (are you really teaching meditation this weekend? we’ll be out of town…i wish i could come! you can quote me on saying that i think you are a supreme teacher. xo)

  2. move to boulder!!!!

    i need you here, teaching me the birds, and seducing me away from my blah blah narrative….. but i guess, you are sort-of doing that in a way, through this machine. this cool cool machine. thank you!!!! i will try to identify one bird tomorrow!! yay. so good.

    1. oh man, in my heart’s search for new home, you just might seduce ME away from HERE. i will come visit some day, for sure, and we will blah blah and notice and discover and figure it out and then not know and then blah blah some more. 🙂

    1. YES, that is such an important point, to get out of the car and onto your feet. and that’s a really cool site, thank you for sharing that. the page on “bird friendly spaces” made me really happy. its summer right now for you, yeah? so there must be lots of bird activity. i’d love to hear if you spot anything unusual.

      1. yep, it’s summer here at the moment. (the weather has been horrible for the last week – warm, incredibly humid and raining – and no good for walking!)

        something that’s been really lovely over the last year is the increase in sacred kingfishers on the creek where i live. they’re beautiful birds!

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