Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bird Lore

It's been very cloudy. We heard the Seattle weather reporter say there's been 21 days of cloudiness. I hadn't realized that it's been that sun-less for so long. I am noticing, though, that it's hard to get motivated to go out and photograph anything. So, we've taken to just watching the birds in the yard. Noticed a yellow House Finch, such an interesting variation to the red. The red or yellow color of a male House Finch comes from pigments that it gets in its food during molt. The more pigment in the food, the redder the male. Females prefer to mate with the reddest male they can find, perhaps assuring that they get a capable male who can find enough food to feed the nestlings.

If I had any energy whatsoever I would write something about sexual and reproductive preference based on greater access to resources not being solely limited to bird behaviors. Or how the whole concept of race and pigmentation permeates every aspect of our society, even though it's genetically insignificant. But that would require thinking, and it's been too cloudy to think. No variation in the shades of grey.

The juvenile Cooper's hawk has been cruising the yard for a meal. It makes me wonder how the hawk came to represent militancy. Why not the shark? Or any other predator. I understand how the dove came to represent peace, but when I google "hawk symbolism" there are so many other interpretations of this creature: its hunting prowess; its wisdom in action; its diligent observation of its surroundings; or as the Egyptians saw it as a royal bird and a symbol of the soul.

If it weren't so cloudy, I would ponder these things and bring more light to them. But alas, the pacific northwest is as shrouded as fable and myth. In fact, I'm not convinced that even we are here beneath the endless grey.

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