Posted by: ktzefr | March 31, 2017

Scaly-napped Pigeon in a Gumbo Limbo Tree

Every morning this fellow and/or some of his friends cooed outside my cottage in the British Virgins.  In the tropics their morning song is the next best sound to the night rains.  Although the scaly-naped pigeon is common in most of the Caribbean, is any bird truly ordinary?  This one is arboreal, spending most of its time in the trees, eating seeds and leaf buds and even small snails.   

Here he sits in a gumbo limbo tree.  The locals call this the “tourist tree” because its bark is reddish and peels like the skin of tourists who stay too long in the sun.  Zoom and look at those red eyes!

Scaly-naped pigeon, British Virgin Islands; Photo:KFawcett

I collect birds.  Not real birds.  Pictures of birds.  Memories of birds.  I keep tabs on the birds I’ve known — where they come from, where they go, what it feels like to look into the eyes of a bird.   A bird sees everything at once in total focus.  Whereas the human eye is globular and must adjust to varying distances, the bird’s eye is flat and can take in everything at once in a single glance.  Ordinary? 

I always wanted to fly like a bird, not strapped in a seat but with “wings” flapping free.  For years I’ve had a recurring dream of flying — or, at least, trying to fly.  But, even in the dream, I’m more chicken than bird.  Not “chicken” as in afraid, but I fly like a chicken — literally.  It’s more like fly jumping.  I leap into the air and fly for a second or two but then fall back to the ground, like a fat chicken trying to flee the coop.  I can’t stay aloft.  That’s ordinary.


Have an extraordinary weekend!




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