Tuesday, April 17, 2012

knowing birds

© Maggie Lee, Louisville, Kentucky, December 2008
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology at allaboutbirds.org is my site of choice

I dared to walk to work today. Knowing it would rain. I have a rain coat. An umbrella. I am willing Spring. Daring warm days to string together uncountable. I am ready for the sun to warm my skin, all the way down to my bones. But it’s only April. 

It takes ten minutes to walk to work. Often longer to walk home as I stop to talk to one neighbor after another. I’d hardly made a block this morning when I noticed the birds chirping ahead of me. As I approached they took off toward the trees. But one caught my attention.

There are usually just sparrows here. Brown, flecked birds. But this one, it was so much tinier than all the rest. It perched on a thin branch at a height just above my head. I held my breath in hope that it would not fly off. I wanted a closer look as I passed by.

 I did not stop, for fear I’d scare it. And as I passed, I saw the faint yellow of its belly. I guessed it was a goldfinch. Just beginning to change out of its winter coat. Uncle Flash would scold me for guessing and not verifying. If he were still here, he’d throw the bird book at me and tell me to look it up. To find out for sure. To stop my guessing. 

I tried to look it up online when I got to work. But I’ve never been as good at knowing birds as he was. Still I am convinced the little tiny bird was indeed a goldfinch.

Even though it'll rain on me today, the walk was more than worth it. To see up close the tiny bird with the barely yellow belly and know that Spring is here. 


  1. It could've been a female Wilson's Warbler too you know:

    1. I guess, but I'm sure it wasn't. The shape of the bird was different. Trust me.