Saturday, May 7, 2011

In Dubious Battle

Right now, two legendary battles are raging, one causing the other. The first is the migration of millions of birds northward. Millions upon millions of birds are fighting their way north--fighting inclement weather, questionable food supplies, natural predators, and deadly obstacles such as skyscrapers. This enormous army brings forth a second army, not to fight, but to watch this northerly march with jaws dropped. The birders are out in force; I am proud to be among them.

It's been a considerable personal battle lately. Finals are approaching. Study seems prudent. But, my inner birder thinks otherwise. You fool! he screams. You can hear singing Nasvhille Warblers and Yellow-throated Vireos while walking from class to class. GET OUT!!

Lately, I've been very obedient, following orders whenever issued.

In the last week, I've birded almost desperately, foregoing lunch every day so I can ramble across the wilder parts of campus, attempting to rally the tired troops entrenched in the woods and thickets for the day. Finally, Saturday came. I was at Reed's Lake at dawn. There had been an invasion overnight--paratroopers milled in the treetops, whistling and singing merrily in the face of grave opposition. This one had received a bullet to the chest but still clung to life.

This little guy--a Yellow Wagtail, I'm told--was steadfastly guarding a prisoner-of-war camp.

What it is, I don't know, but Operation Murmuring Trees must be important, because this corporal was repeatedly humming it to himself, presumably so he wouldn't forget.

The battle may be over, but the war has just begun. Get out and support your troops.

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