Episode 081 – Birds
Breakfast and I’m sitting alone in our dinning room looking out over the bay eating some cereal. It’s quiet. It’s early - favorite time of day. Thump. Something hit the window. Three more times in one hour I heard the sound of a bird flying into some of our windows. My gaze goes out across the bay to the hillside dotted with houses. How many birds fly into windows and die. There must be a bunch. Four birds in one hour fly into our windows. They break their necks. I was just reading about it in a book entitled, “The World Without Us”. There was an amazing chapter on birds and our relationship to them. The early morning thumping reminded me of the facts of the case. If we weren’t here to repair the damage, windows would be broken fairly quickly. Wind and rain would soon roar through our houses. They wouldn’t last long: our houses. As a matter of fact, without us, and our constant maintenance our presence on the face of the earth would soon disappear. But then there are the birds and the impact our windows have on them. It got me thinking. Who speaks for the birds?
This is retirement talk. I’m Del Lowery.
How many birds die because of us each year: here in
I’m not a bird guy. I mean I like birds, but I don’t have a life list. Oh, I’ve got a pair of binoculars and I have gone down to the water and gazed with wonder at the colors of the wood duck or harlequin. I still pause and am impressed when I see the bald eagles sitting at the top of the trees. I looked out my window early one morning last spring and saw 27 blue herons coming in on those big wings to their nest which lie just below and to the side of our house. It was amazing. Wings outstretched; gliding in with necks and feet extended. Unforgettable. But, a life list: No. I’m not one of those. I’m not a real birder.
I had a friend in
Vern was one of the most amazing men I ever met in my life.
That is another whole story and I will get back to him one day. But, he always
had falcons. Even as a boy when he lived in
But all of these birds dying – that’s not right. Rachel Carson’s wrote a famous book that helped trigger the environmental movement entitled, “Silent Springs” – the title refers to a world without bird song. What kind of world would that be? Not very nice. I think of retired people I know who love to watch birds. They get outside; fair or foul. They travel around the world to see different species. They send money to organizations to help protect birds or bird habitat. Retirement would be well spent if one were to focus on birds.
I remember reading about birds when Europeans first came to
The old “canary in the coal mine” comes to my mind. Rachel Carson talked about it. Perhaps our fate is closely tied to birds. Maybe we should pay a bit more attention. Watching birds, listening to birds, learning about birds: I can see how many retired folks go this way. It has to be interesting, and certainly worthwhile. On top of that it has to be fun.
This is Retirement Talk.