The time is right, I think, to flex my ornithological chops by setting a daily bird-related challenge. By doing so, I hope to silence forever those fiends who mutter darkly that “Actually, Mr Key is a complete ignoramus in matters avian”. It is astonishing, is it not, that such brickbats can be thrown? Yet they are, with distressing regularity. Well, let us see how the birdy know-alls deal with the first of these challenges!
Your task, which you must accept on pain of Aubreyan kim kam, is, bebooted and with your bird spotters’ book tucked in to the pocket of your rainwear, to locate and identify the following birds, as mentioned in Slouching Towards Kalamazoo by Peter De Vries (1983):
“That there is no bluebird of happiness, only the robin of resigned acceptance of things as they are. The plain everyday starling of common, undeluded reality… and then what next?… The grackle of total disillusionment?”
So there are four birds to spot, and spot well. No ordinary bluebirds, nor robins, nor starlings, nor grackles, mind. And, once spotted, you must execute pencil or crayon sketches of each, and post them, or links to them, in the Comments carton. Off you go!
I have seen all of these just this morning in my back garden (or yard as they say over here)
I have the bluebird nesting or he may just be fighting over the nest box yet. The chickadee keeps filling it with moss and the blue bird is either trying to muscle in or perhaps just steal the downy enpadment.
The robin in question here is of course not the beloved robin redbreast but the american robin which is actually a thrushy looking thing.
The grackle fills the ecological niche so noisily filled by the magpie in the uk.
Would photographs do? My pencil and crayon skills are of the decidedly cackhanded sort.
Oh and by the way there are buffleheads on the pond behind the house.
Are we being invited to submit sketches of a bird whose very existence is disavowed in the text upon which the challenge is based?
This is irresistible!
Very impressive, Mr Jennings! Peter De Vries was American, so he would have had your kind of robin in mind. Cackhandedness, meanwhile, is a quality to be prized. As are butterfingers.
R : Yes.
I’ve embraced what makes me unique and based my whole artistic ‘style’ on it..
I jumped the gun on the “spotting” part, but here you are: