“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend”
~ Henri Bergson

This is out of a book that I have called Sibley’s Birding Basics. It is a wonderful book, short and thin, about 150 pages long detailing anatomy, clues to behavior, markings, and what to look for when bird watching. I’ve got two bird identification books, a birding journal, and the wonderful Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. My next book might be the Sibley Field Guide to Birds. It is nice to have this book because I am an amateur bird watcher and when I go bird watching I spend more time looking up a picture of a bird than I do in watching it. More times than not I narrow down the bird to two or three different species but can get no further than this. I am still undecided if whether the owl that I’ve tracked and came very close to was a barred owl, spotted owl, or what. The habitat at first seems to rule out the spotted owl, the call seems to rule out the barred owl, but the markings that I saw were similar to them both (and both of them are near identical in marking).

The crow that mimics a cormorant is dead.
~ Japanese Proverb

My home in Houston was near one of the many canals that criss cross the “bayou city”. There was a nesting colony of cormorants nearby and I watched them often. I would go outside and sit down in the tall grass along the steep sides and the noise of the freeway would cease to be real for my mind. Behind me was a thin strip of trees and across the canal was a 17 acre parcel of land with nothing but trees on it. It was my oasis of serenity on many a day. If it had not been for that spot and the Arboretum I would have surely gone mad.

One thing while reading this book, and the guide to bird behavior, and Heinrich’s books on ravens and of his forest, my appreciation of natural selection has increased dramatically. The evolution of a species to fill a niche, the unfathomable amount of interconnectedness between species, plant and animal alike, on the micro and macro level. It is truly an awe inspiring notion and whenever I begin to approach a glimpse of the complexity and elegant beauty of it all I am suddenly overcome by it all and it is beyond the grasp of reasoning of mere intellect alone.

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