Slow soaring, quick flashing, short hops from branch to bush, cruising at tree top level, just going from one place to another. Birds in flight have fascinated humans (and those birds attendent predators) for longer than memory or known history. Science tells us what flight consists of, the physics, the biomechanics and any number of other “ics” but the mystery and fascination continue for those that are smitten with the feathered others that surround us, songs sometimes muted by the din of civilization, fenced in by the boundaries we demand of all things wild. But the birds don’t listen, they just fly. The issue then becomes, where?
Our human horizons, our memories are too small to truly realize the shrinking of the world we inhabit. Of course the numbers are out there, 3 billion birds have disappeared from the continent over a short span of time, a couple of generations. Did you notice? Close to home, something like 85% of pinyon jays are now gone, we have a seemingly healthy population of them where we live so the number comes as a shock, we haven’t noticed such a decline. Memory deceives, how many black birds were in the marsh last year? More than this year? Jason Mark has written an essay “Antidotes for Ecological Forgetfulness” in the November 2022 issue of High Country news. Very much worth a read on this subject.
Here are a few images of the magic, birds doing their thing, in the air.