Monday, January 26, 2015

Conversation with a Bird

While the weather channel scared the hell out of everyone in the New York area, I walked Green Cay Nature Preserve, a hundred acres of wetlands, in Boynton Beach, Florida and met up with a Limpkin. 

Hey lady, you looking at me? Come on, you can come closer; just don't make any noise. I'm waiting for that plump little apple snail I saw yesterday. Take a look in the marsh. Give me a little help here. Forget that camera and look for the little bugger. Let me know if you see him.

Oh, so you want my profile. Pretty aren't I? Watch your step, you're getting a little too close for comfort and you don't want to hear me screech. Yeah, I'm told we Limpkins have a piercing wail. How else can we find each other? What, you'd rather I coo cooed like the Least Bittern or whistled "ker-wee," the ridiculous song of the Sora bird. Look down in the vegetation. You'll see those other birds. But not me. I'm not hiding anymore. I want that snail and I'm going to stay right here until he swims by, then I'll swoop down and scoop him out of his shell with my long bill. No, it's not a beak. It's a bill. If you're going to be out here looking at birds, the least you can do is get the word right.

Hey! There he is. Gotta go.

 Thanks for coming to Green Cay. Maybe I’ll see you again next week, or this spring when my babies are born.  You can watch me feed my little guys. I don't mind. It takes a long time, though with five, six or seven kids. I feed each one separately. When one is satiated, I move on to the next and it’s incredible, they stand and wait their turn. They’re very patient, not like you humans. Look for me in the nest in that Cypress tree over there. Yes, that one, with all those little Cypress knees underneath. You’re right, they do look like gnomes. I hear lots of people say that.

What? You want to know if I mate for life? That’s quite a personal question, isn’t it? How would you like it if I asked you the same thing? Oh. Forty-two years and all with the same man. Nice. Well, to be honest, I might mate with the same Limpkin next time...and I just might not. Depends on how I feel. Yes, our males are good to us. They share all the parental duties. They help build the nest and even feed our young. I’ll bet your husband didn’t do that. Well, okay. Maybe he fed the kids, but he sure didn’t build your house. He changed diapers, you say? Nice guy. But, you know, we birds don’t have that issue. We just drop and plop whenever we feel the need. No toilet training. No Pampers or pull-ups. Life’s easy here in southern Florida in these swamps.


1 comment:

  1. Would much rather be watching birds than shoveling snow. But your bird's-eye-view made great light reading on a whiteout of a Jersey morn.