Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 23, 2009

A-birding I have gone

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:08 pm

Three birds.  That’s all we caught in our nets in the first three hours.  Kind of like fishing… good days and bad days.  VERY educational, however, as I watched them untangle a Spotted Towhee, a Blue Grosbeak, and a female warbler we could not identify to save our lives, even with the finest bird books and birders all around.  I watched just long enough to know that I would not have the patience to untangle the nets, nor the birds from the nets.  Christmas tree lights tangle easily for me and that drives me bonkers.

One bird, the female Blue Grosbeak, came to us with a broken leg.  Somehow she survived that, but in the process of struggling in or detangling her from the mist net, her left wing seems to have been broken.  We gave her droppers full of water when we realized that she could not fly upon release, and the birders talked of taking her to a bird rehab place — 116 miles away — because she could not survive in the wild.

I am off to dog sit now.  It has been a while since I walked a dog!


  1. So sad…that Bl;ue Grossbeak was injured. Exactly WHY do they want to catch these birds in nets??? To band them?? And why band them? Seems like a lot of trauma for the birds 😦

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — July 24, 2009 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

    • Songbirds are banded in order to track their numbers and ranges. This is necessary in order to see what is happening to the populations as habitat is destroyed. This bird’s injuries are sad, but perhaps if we look at it as learning about its entire species, we can count the cost. The mist nets are very very fine, so as to be almost invisible. She was so tangled in it that the netting had to be cut off her, which is unusual.

      Comment by Kathryn — July 25, 2009 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  2. Blue Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak . . .
    You never guessed the thoughts your struggles and injuries would provoke in the large-brained species in whose nets you languished. For guessing is not in your nature. You hatched, you ate, you matured, you reproduced, you were injured and you will die. But you didn’t guess. That is for the large-brains alone.
    They too follow the cycle of life that you and all living species follow, but they also know how to guess. And, despite the unarguable inevitability of death, they find ways to guess that the ends of their bodies are not the ends of their imagined selves. All religion is testament to our wanting – nay our needing – to survive that last curtain of being an individual living entity. The Blue Grosbeak did not know and did not care. It simply attempted to survive using its well-evolved instincts.Sometimes these are temporarily enough, but neither instinct nor guessing can do more than prolong the natural outcome of being born. We wake up, we discover, we learn, we create and then we go to sleep – the daily cycle of life. And then one day, the next day does not come. And that’s it – for us, for Blue Grosbeaks and for every living entity.
    Unlike the Blue Grosbeak, we large-brains keep histories – of our species and of our world and of our universe. Like a great fugue, these histories allow us to step back from the myriad awakenings and sleepings and to begin to see the great arch, the direction and the movement – the vast tides of existence.
    Surely the individuals, the species and the generations are part of this great fugue. Paradoxically, we know not of the end of this immensity. The summation is not for us – only the participating.
    We, the large-brains and the Blue Grosbeak and the Great Arches – the icons of our existence.
    Blue Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak . . . whither goest thou?

    Comment by Dad — July 25, 2009 @ 9:43 am | Reply

    • Dad. You are waxing philosophical. Thank you for your insights.

      Comment by Kathryn — July 25, 2009 @ 9:56 am | Reply

      • One does find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places . . .

        Comment by Dad — July 27, 2009 @ 11:35 am

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