Archive for the ‘Bird Observations’ Category

730 Birds of North America in ONE Chart

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To zoom in and see the birds close up,

visit Co.Design Infographic

“Baby Chicks in Larkspur” by Jane Beal

I went to Larkspur to have lunch with my friend
at a Thai food place with great coconut soup,

and while we were there, we heard music,
and followed it into a parade of people

celebrating spring, new life, and everything –
including baby chicks in a silver bucket

being adored by small children who were torn
between the birds and a tiny carousel

with horses painted bright
and beautifully.


Uncaged (in progress)

“A Distressed Duck” by Jane Beal

She was a beautiful mallard –
brown and white with a patch of dark blue
side-feathers, orange feet, and an orange beak.

She was hungry, and she was hunting,
her beak dipping into the grass,
but coming up empty.

She began to cry in distress,
making an awful sound,
and I wanted to help her.

I wished I had bread in my bag,
but I didn’t, so I tried to soothe her
with kind and gentle words.

She didn’t run, but walked away,
still dipping her beak left and right,
still coming up empty, still crying. 

At the corner, I had to turn one way,
and she another, but I glanced back:
two students had noticed her

and one of them was mocking
that awful sound she was making,
and the student suddenly lunged at the duck,

frustrated by that sound, but the other student
stopped her friend and said, “No,
don’t scare her.”

Jane Beal
Uncaged (in progress)


Observation by Jane Beal

Jays, mockingbirds, turkey vultures, and crows
are brash and bold, forward, I’m told,


doves fly away
when they’re startled.




“The Crow & the Walnut”

I turned a corner.

Sun was up, crow was down
on the pavement cracking open
a walnut with his beak –

a distinct sound
in the chill
morning air.

I walked on, then
circled back:
only a half-shell
on the ground,
emptied of meat –

black crow cawing in
a distant tree.

Later, I remembered
walnuts are good

the proverbial wisdom
that if a nut is hard to crack,
then the eater prizes it more –

and St. Julian’s vision
of the walnut,
like the world,
held in the palm
of God’s hand.

Jane Beal
Uncaged (in progress)


“A Scrub Jay Watches a Dancing Girl” by Jane Beal

A scrub jay on the balcony
looked in through the window
as I was dancing:

he cocked his head
when I came forward
and became still more curious
when I spun in place,
dress swirling –

and I watched him
watching me, his movements
matching mine until

the music suddenly stopped
and he flew away.



Chestnut Backed Chickadee

Chestnut Backed Chickadee

Chestnut Backed Chickadee

(spotted on Friday, 8/14, in Golden Gate Park in SF)