Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I am myself a great lover of birds, and so I am loving this book with particular fervor. In it, we meet the famous Ladies, Sy's crew of intelligent chickens. We walk, with Sy, through a dusky Australian park, hoping for an encounter with the bone-headed cassowary (six feet tall, dagger-equipped, footprints akin to the Tyrannosaurus rex, but Sy's not afraid, so we're not either). We urge two orphaned hummingbirds on toward life, and learn, in the process, more than a couple of things. We learn, for example, that two baby hummingbird's together "weigh less than a bigger bird's single flight feather," and that "a person as active as a hummingbird would need 155,000 calories a day—and the human's body temperature would rise to 700 degrees Fahrenheit and ignite!" We go on a bloody falconry adventure. (Blood, with Sy, is a rather commonplace sight. She may have a mass of great blond curls, and she may be fashionably svelte, but don't let that fool you: this is one tough, bug-bitten, leech-proven traveler.)
I was about to read a chapter about parrots—squeeze it in between client calls—but I thought, Oh, no, why rush this? So I'm going to take this book outside after my work is done and pick my feet up and hope a hummingbird will visit in the meantime.
(As for the photo, above: I snapped this gorgeous creature a few years ago while on Hawk Mountain with my friend Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, her boys, and my own.)