Follow the birdie

Mother and child
One of the legacies from my mother is my interest in birds. From the Sixties through the Eighties she kept a sequence of canaries, parakeets, and finches in cages, and that led to finding and watching wild birds. This turned into a hobby the whole family took part in, though Mom and I were more enthusiastic and stuck with it a lot longer than my sister and Dad. Eventually I was fortunate enough to go on road trips and watch birds in places Mom never got to. My “life list” stands at 198 species, I think (possibly 200, but probably not) and Mom finished at around 170 species.

Mom and I tried to take photos of birds for years, too. I have more good photos, but Mom got the best one between us, the one above of a cedar waxwing about to feed its baby a berry. Mom shot it from the window overlooking a bush near our house in Chesterfield Township, sometime in the early 1980s. (Flickr made me commit to 1982 because it can’t handle vagueness.) I was so impressed with the photo, I surreptitiously found the negative and took it to have an 8×10 print made, then framed it with an oval mat. It hung on her wall for years, and I got it back when we had to clean out her apartment last month.

I was pretty ardent about birding for a long time, but in the last few years I haven’t put in much effort, just a lot of “gee, I should”s. I’m very nostalgic for the times Mom and I spent out looking at birds. Maybe that’ll finally get me to go outside and dig a few out of the trees (so to speak).


About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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3 Responses to Follow the birdie

  1. vaneramos says:

    How beautiful! It brings back memories of the baby waxwing my family rescued and raised in about 1980. Keeping it was illegal, but we didn’t know any better at the time. It was the most interesting pet I ever had, and flew free in my parents’ sun room for 14 years.

    • songdogmi says:

      I remember you mentioning your pet waxwing before. I have to say that even if it’s illegal, it couldn’t really be wrong as the bird had a much longer life in your house than it would’ve in the wild, and from all you’ve said it had a happy life. I like waxwings a lot; not only are they dapper, they’re fun to watch.

      • vaneramos says:

        Also, waxwings are particularly gregarious. It was interesting having a pet who was so intensely extroverted and wore his heart on his wing. He had an eccentric way of expressing himself but was easily understood. They are mostly high canopy birds so people don’t get as much chance to interact with them as the species that come to birdfeeders. We were privileged.

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