Sunday, September 21, 2008
On Friday, I was walking my charge home from school when we noticed something distinctly not sparrow in the lowest branches of a big tree on 8th Avenue. We stood for about a minute, telling each other what we could see about the bird: two white wing bars, bluish grey wings and lower back and face, yellow breast, white belly and under-tail, greenish-yellow upper back, white around dark eyes, tiny sharp beak. The little fellow (the bird, not the boy) swung around the thin branches nimbly in search of better purchase, coming within five feet of my face. We looked it up in my field guide upon arriving at home, and I think we had a first-year female northern parula on our hands. I have to commend the kid's school for last year's field-trip-ridden science unit on birdwatching -- it's given him the vocabulary to talk about birds and it's given me a chance to share the source of my daily joy.