Monday, March 31, 2014

Comfort in the Familiar

[American Robin at the National Conservation Training Center, West Virginia. I've always loved the intricate patterning on American Robins - which most people never notice.  But look at the fine markings on the face and throat.  This is one special bird.]

As alluded to in my previous post, there hasn't been much time for birds, birding or blogging of late, but this afternoon I emerged from the classroom at the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia determined to see some nature, and was not disappointed. Four species of woodpeckers - Downy, Red-bellied, Pileated and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - foraged right outside my room, and an Eastern Phoebe sang cheerfully from the eves.  A Red-shouldered Hawk called angrily when a Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead. "Only" the American Robins posed for photos, but that was okay.  I love robins.  A passing classmate in the training I'm taking shared the sentiment, and we paused together to watch the robins forage on the roadside lawns for a while. 

I remember talking with a geologist friend once about how we go about orienting ourselves to new or strange places.  For him, it was the rocks, the folds in the earth, and the commonality of processes that made them.  For me, it's always been the birdlife, whether watching egrets and herons in an unfamiliar African wetland or robins and woodpeckers doing what they do at a North American location.  What would we do without robins, woodpeckers, phoebes, hawks. . .

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