Posted by: atowhee | January 26, 2021

LITTLE BIRDS REQUIRE MANY WORDS

Vitality. Virtuosity–they can float between wing flaps. Vigor. Vivacity. Village.
Slender. Slight. Sudden. Soft. Sylph. Swift. Swarm. Suite. Sublime.
The description of Bushtits, singly, en flock, flying, feeding, floating down to land with wings against its sides, in retreat to a nearby bush, on the move like a pulsing horde over a gap of open air–one across, two across, one more across, one more, small pulse of three together, you lose count but there must be twenty, twenty-five? The description would weary the most thorough dictionary. So small, so ordinary in a picture, so indescribable in action, in your garden, at your suet, sometimes ignoring your hulk when you’re only ten feet away. Leave the suet block, go back to your gargantuan irrelevance, ok?

Remind yourself–they have no other family members in North America, but there are cousins in the Old World. They stay put, rarely moving great distances or showing up outside their usual range. No birder has reported one in Central Park or Miami. But if they are here, they are certainly HERE AND NOW.

Below: we see the Bushtit–Oregon’s smallest songbird–next to two other tykes, a Chestnut-backed Chickadee (small for his family) looking big and a ruby-crowned Kinglet; then feeding despite heavy snowfall, perhaps because it was going to be a long, cold, snowy night. Later all to roost crowded into a tree cavity or nest box.


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