Friday, May 13, 2016

"For a piece of bread you can hear God sing"

Tony Fitzpatrick at the DePaul Art Museum

     Birds do not loiter. They dart and dive, swoop and soar. Occasionally, they'll pause at a spot, and if you're lucky, you can steal a glance, close-up.

     I was lucky Wednesday, crossing a bridge in Northbrook; a flash of red caught my eye. I looked up and got a good three second's study of a scarlet tanager lingering on a branch, right in front of my nose.


     Is it me, or are there more birds around Chicago this spring?

     "We've had a solid month of rainy weather, and that's not ideal for birds," said James Steffen, ecologist at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

     "Some springs are better than others, but it's been pretty typical," said Josh Engel, a research assistant at the Field Museum. "I wouldn't say it's different."

     Okay, it's me....

To continue reading, click here.


  1. I've seen Tony's beautiful bird drawings on Facebook and hope to visit his exhibit. As far as birds being more abundant this spring, I can say with certainty there have been many more in my yard this year, gobbling up the seeds I put out for them. Many more varieties of birds, as well. No scarlet tanagers yet though, alas.


  2. ‘For a piece of bread you can hear God sing.'
    That is so very beautiful.
    I was thrilled to see the article on Tony Fitzpatrick. I have a couple of his prints and consider him a Chicago treasure. His articles in New City in which he brings truth to power are brilliant. Plays, poetry, journalism, art - he is a true renaissance man and is one of my heroes.

  3. Had a similar bird experience this morning: as I opened up the back door of the office, a bird strolled past, just a few feet away, one of those birds that appear black at a distance, but up close, particularly in direct sunshine like this bird, sparkle with iridescent streaks of blue, green and red. I immediately thought to grab my phone to capture the moment, but the bird and the moment, sauntered off.


  4. I like what Miss Dickinson wrote about a very buisiness-like avian.

    "A promt, executive bird is the Jay
    Bold as a Bailif's hymmn.
    Brittle and brief in quality
    Warrant in every line.
    Sitting a bough like a Brigadier
    Confident and straight,
    Much is the mien
    Of him in March
    As a Magistrate."

    Tom Evans

  5. It's early in the season, but I've already seen many different kinds of birds in my yard and at and around my bird feeder. There are large robins and cardinals in my yard and at the bird feeder are mostly sparrows and sometimes a woodpecker or finch. Around the bird feeder at the bottom are beautiful doves (as well as an occasional rabbit, gopher or squirrel). They are all so enjoyable to watch. I try to take pictures of them, but they're gone so quickly. By the way, my aunt feeds her birds toast crumbs every morning!

    1. Just so she doesn't burn the toast!


    2. I hope not, but at age 86 you never know!

      Linda B

    3. LB -- I agree, it's really fun watching. I often have cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, chickadees, doves, red-winged blackbirds, crows, as well as squirrels (of course), and an occasional rabbit. Sometimes all at once, sharing the feast. Well, except for the greedy squirrels.


  6. I live in a subdivision that has lots of trees but is surrounded by barren industrial areas, meaning that it's a primo attraction for birds. They sing day and night. I mostly like it, although there occasionally comes the time when I wish they'd shut up.

    Bitter Scribe

  7. Yes, like when they start in at 4 a. m.

  8. Mary Schmich had a nice column about ducklings on parade. It's not just the songbirds that cheer us up every spring.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.