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Exploring Nature: Calender Birds

Don’t worry; Owl be right here.
Photo from Metro Creative

Exploring Nature: Calender Birds

Exploring Nature: Calender Birds

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Whenever I get to feeling smug about all the marvelous birds I’ve been privileged to see, all I have to do to bring utter humility is to check a calendar I recently purchased.

This particular box calendar consists of a little square page for every day of the month. It has tons of birds I never heard of.

One day on the calendar showed a smew, or Mergllus albellus for its scientific name. This is a white and black duck with a Mohawk head crest — a very dashing duck, and one I knew nothing about. To me, the smew was new.

Then came the masked flowerpiercer, a deep blue bird with red eyes and a black mask. Completely new to me.

Ditto the Yucatan jay, the African paradise flycatcher and the longcrested eagle. My oh my, I did not realize I was so uninformed.

I was rescued when, after showing a new-tome crimson-mantled woodpecker, the next page featured an old familiar favorite — a northern gannet. Hooray, I love seeing diving gannets, and I was back in the ball game.

Another winner, the northern bobwhite quail, a bird I admire, and then a Harlequin duck, a most colorful and familiar avian beauty, followed on the calendar.

But my satisfaction was short-lived. The following three days featured marcanon cresentchest, bush thickknee and blond-crested woodpecker. I was totally out of my league and had never heard of any of those birds.

There are about 9,000 bird species in the world, so I guess I should not feel too bad about not knowing them all. After all, I have seen an African shoebill, a bald eagle and a whimbrel, all birds shown on the calendar.

My guess is you may never see a collared scopsowl, but I’ll bet you’ve seen a European starling and a yellow warbler. And those are really neat birds — well-deserving a calendar page.

San Marcos Record

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