Date: 5/6/20 10:01 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] May 6, 2020: Thetford Center
Mike, that would be an interesting change of events, best accomplished
loudly from a low branch. Please let me know when you encounter such a
school teacher.

Pura Vida,

On Wed, May 6, 2020 at 11:03 AM Mike Carlo <
<000005daa78fa2c0-dmarc-request...> wrote:

> Just once, I would be thrilled to hear a human school teacher
> emphatically respond, "I'm here, I'm here, I'm here!" while I was out
> birding...
> Mike Carlo in Sterling, VA
> On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 10:03:13 AM EDT, Ted Levin <
> <tedlevin1966...> wrote:
> 5:17 a.m. 26 degrees. Cloudless and windless. Frost throughout the wetland
> and pastures. Leaves of red maples, tiny and red, give the woods a ruddy
> complexion, as though trees could blush. Beech leaves unfurling. Ash buds
> swelling.
> Two herds of wild turkey calling from opposite ends of the wetland: one
> north, in the lower pasture; the other south, in a clear cut, just above
> the east side of the pond. Gobbling carries in the cold air, the valley
> stereophonic. Three ovenbirds (FOY) screaming in the pines: *teacher,
> teacher, teacher, teacher*. Teachers unresponsive, of course. They all
> self-isolating, online teaching.
> A junco on a low branch chipping, pink beak in relief against gray breast.
> A pair of sapsuckers duel twenty-feet apart. One on the resonant roadside
> maple limb, tapping the small, broken terminal end, which is barely bigger
> than he is; the other, up road plays the trunk of a standing dead beech. I
> see them both. They see each other. Preoccupied in their war of wood,
> percussionists are oblivious to me and to the dogs, which tug their
> leashes, wanting to walk. Gray squirrel crosses the road, heads up the
> driveway toward the feeders; dogs tug in another attention.
> Last night, I read an article that recently appeared in the journal
> *Ecology.
> **Topic:* an obscure aspect of migration. *The given: 1)* two billion birds
> cross the Gulf of Mexico twice each year, hemisphere to hemisphere; No
> surprise. *The given: 2)* along the way, thousands, maybe tens of
> thousands, maybe even millions perish. Flocks starve. Exhausted and
> disoriented, others land on the water and can't take off. Still, others fly
> too low and get engulfed by waves, swallowed by an unforgiving sea.
> Flocks hit oil rigs and boats. Still, no surprises. *The crux*, *the*
> *oddity
> of the article:* newborn tiger sharks wait off the coasts of Alabama and
> Mississippi for hapless migrants. A predictable pulse of protein for babies
> just learning how to hunt. Eleven different species identified in bellies
> of baby sharks: yellow-bellied sapsuckers, swamp sparrows, eastern
> kingbird, common yellowthroats among them. All birds that live in this
> valley. *"Notorious for their dietary breadth," *the authors wrote, tiger
> sharks eat almost anything: alive; dead, inorganic. Feeding with a
> proprietary air. Who knew that a stage in their lives tiger sharks depend
> on the sky to deliver protein. Loren Eisley, simplifying Francis Thompson,
> wrote *One could not pluck a flower without troubling a star*. I'm not sure
> either Eisley or Thompson had songbirds and sharks in mind . . . but it
> fits.
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