Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Zen and the art of birdwatching

The New York Times reviewed a new book about birdwatching this weekend. If you can agree with the statement, "I can't think of any activity that more fully captures what it means to be human in the modern world than watching birds," then you might enjoy Jonathan Rosen's The Life of the Skies. The review (by Robert Sullivan, who wrote the book Rats, which has the best cover of any book ever) is astonishingly well-connected (in the Internet sense of the word): it weaves in allusions to Robert Frost, Jack Kerouac, and Theodore Roosevelt. I haven't read The Life of Skies yet, but it is now on my list.

I love running into birds. The other morning, when it was relatively warm, Casey and I went for a walk in the Zoo, and saw a pair of red-shouldered hawks (wild, not caged) building a nest in one of the big old orthern red oak trees there. It was cool to see: they were collecting sticks several feet long and doing short fly-hops through the canopy as they maneuvered into their nest site. Today, we went back and looked for them again, but there weren't there. Maybe out hunting?

In DC, the winter weather persists. It was cold and windy this weekend, and daylight savings time didn't help much. Soon, (very soon, I hope), the weather will warm and the birds will return. Right now, there's nothing to look at except rocks, cold rocks. Some of my Honors students and I got out in the field today to do measurements for their various projects, and when the sun was out, it was pretty nice. Still fleece and jeans weather, but you can sense spring is on the way.

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Blogger Silver Fox said...

Thanks for the heads up about this book. It sounds like a good one. I'll put it on my list!

March 11, 2008 7:03 PM  

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