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Thursday, November 25, 2010

BIRDWATCHING ON THE OUTER BANKS


I enjoy watching you crows hop around
with your slick little bodies, shining feathers.
Black, iridescent like oil spots in a parking lot.
It seems you all like to work in groups as
you try to sneak up on the tourist’s garbage.
I want to ask you why you all have feathers
missing in a ring around your scrawny necks.

But it's the sandpipers who work the best
together on the shoreline, moving swiftly to
avoid getting your feet wet. Acting like you aren’t
part of a team, pecking, poking the wet sand
with precision, stopping to run each other off.
And then back to work, even though you don’t
find much at the water’s edge, it’s your spot.

Pelican, you stop me each morning at sunrise with a
rapid crash into the ocean, ugly as the beak you use.
You look bulky and strange, you don’t move sharp or
swift like the jets of today. More like World War Two
fighter planes with your direct paths and staggered
patterns that make me notice your numbers; I count
every time this week and the magic number is six.

Gulls, you are all over, screaming like someone’s
done something wrong or trying to murder you.
Somebody told me to look for you to find the wind’s
direction, since you always put your beak to where
it’s coming from. You don’t like ruffled feathers.
I keep an eye on you if I’m eating food because
I’ve seen your sneaky ways at the Jersey Shore.

Osprey, when you fly, there’s no need to count the
number in your flock, you don’t have any partners.
You go it alone, like your famous cousins, the Eagles.
Sometimes people call you seahawk when they
see you glide on currents of air above the waves.
The flight, the dive, the grab with your talons, barely
getting your feet wet. A few flaps and you are gone.

1 comment:

Katy Bennett said...

sounds like you've really studied your subjects. I once got woken up in a hotel by dawn chorus of gulls.