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Archive for May 31st, 2022

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

As I was resting on the sofa in my living room, I heard a light tap on the window. Oh, no, I thought. We’ve had times before that a bird has flown into the window and either died or been stunned. I expected to see a poor thing lying lifeless on the deck, but instead was surprised by fluttering. The little guy flew to a nearby branch and stayed long enough for me to identify him as a Prothonotary Warbler.

I studied this swamp beauty when I was writing Swamp Song (which has yet to find a publisher).

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary warblers live in wooded swamps and forage above slow moving water. They hop among branches of downed trees searching for insects and snails to eat. They are a bright yellow color with blue-gray wings and tail. The male will select a nesting cavity in holes left behind by woodpeckers and chickadees. Prothonotary warblers are declining due to habitat loss. Prothonotary warblers got their names from the bright yellow robes worn by clerks for the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church known as prothonotaries. 

From Swamp Song by Margaret Simon

I am on the council for the T.E.C.H.E. Project as an education consultant, so I called our president who is a biologist and knows about birds. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Patti, I know some people believe their parents come back to them in cardinals, but I think my dad is visiting me in a Prothonotary Warbler.

Patti: Yeah. Yeah?

Me: No, really. This male bird is coming to my window and fluttering wildly. I’m afraid he’s going to hurt himself. What should I do?

Patti: It’s likely a young juvenile who sees himself in the reflection. They are very territorial. He’s stupid. He thinks he sees another bird.

Me: So, he’s just strutting his stuff!

Patti: Yeah, he’s showing off for ya’!

My first thought was my dad was not that kind of guy. Showy. No strut. But he was one who liked to tell jokes and hear people laugh. So before I chased the bird away from the danger of the window, I looked up at his sunny self and smiled! Thanks, Dad!

Prothonotary Warbler in cypress tree. (Not a bad shot for through a window with an Iphone.)

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