Monday 13 December 2021

What was your spark bird?!

"Spark Bird" being - The bird that helped spark your interest in birding. It helped open your eyes to the incredible beauty
I listened to a This American Life podcast: "📻Spark Bird Stories – about birds and the hearts they sway, the havoc they wreak, the lives they change." 

The expert they interviewed, Noah Strycker, was amazing. He and Ira Glass were out in the field and Strycker identified a Steller's Jay imitating a red-tailed hawk. I knew that blue jays imitate them, as I've heard them. I didn't know why. His theory is that they like to terrorize the chickadees!

Blue jay

It's an interesting podcast for amateur birders, like me. He spotted a crow, focused the parabolic listening device on it, and found it was humming to itself. It was a fascinating story, explaining that turkey vultures were his spark bird. He brought home a deer carcass to put in his backyard and watch them. (Sound familiar? Life includes death in the rural cycle of life: deer carcass & The circle of life. )

We had 13 mourning doves under or near the feeder. Dec. 18th is our Christmas Count, here. JB asked the collective noun for doves.

"There are a number of collective nouns for any group of doves. They include cote, dole, dule, bevy, flight, and piteousness. For the Mourning Dove specifically, I would offer lament as a collective noun because of its sad song, sung over and over and over again."

I don't think I have a spark bird. I just like every bird that shows up!

Winter birds


Tom said...

...we have a jay at our feeder that is sparking my attention.

Anvilcloud said...

Lament sounds appropriate. I don't know about spark birds. Maybe chickadees.

RedPat said...

My spark was probably a Blue Jay but I must admit that even the House Sparrows at the bird bath give me a lift.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
My interest in ornithology was 'sparked' not by a specific bird, by the teacher in high school who hailed from Australia and started up a Young Ornithologists Club as a branch of the RSPB. That meant he could take a bunch of us on field trips. I don't recall clearly which would have been the very first bird seen through binoculars, but as we are a reserve by the coast, it would have been a wader or seabird of some description. I do know that I have never stopped watching ever since!!! YAM xx

William Kendall said...

I don't know. Just that I find them fascinating.

Red said...

My spark bird was a male mallard. My spark person is my Mom as she showed me the mallard.

Powell River Books said...

Steller's Jays are really intelligent birds. I once saw one pick up a short stick from the ground and use it to probe a hole in a branch, I assumed to dislodge an insect of some kind. - Margy