The City · The Home · The Soul

Birds Near Me

I’m fascinated by birds – no idea why. It appalls me that there’s something I actually share with Jonathan Franzen. I suppose not everyone is perfectly imperfect.

My apartment is a block away from Clove Lakes Park, which is filled with all sorts of interesting birds – a family of herons, at least one cormorant, kinglets (who are not afraid of anybody, and bop alongside you in the bushes as you walk), and warblers (who do the same). The centerpiece of the park, obviously, is series of lakes and streams formed by glaciers in prehistoric times, which is surrounded by trees and brush for the birds’ habitats.

Three ways of looking at a cormorant:

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Two ways of looking at a great blue heron mama and one way of looking at one of her babies:

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One way of looking at a goose who is following you unassertively, for some reason you will never fathom because geese are foul, hissing monsters who only love you for your food:

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I’m also two blocks away from the Staten Island Zoo; the YMCA where I go for yoga classes is right across the street, and doing sun salutations while the peacocks are loudly mating is hilarious and fun.

See if you can find the peacock and the peahen in the tree.

Peacocks in the tree

I’m also about a mile away from Snug Harbor. There, swallows, robins, and red-winged blackbirds swirl around me in an almost terrifying way while I walk around the little pond where they live. (If you’ve ever found yourself in the middle of swallow dinnertime, it’s quite disconcerting.)

Red-winged blackbird banking in the field near the pond:

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And a swallow barnstorming:

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And finally, because it’s Staten Island, which is the Florida of New York City:

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The bird that gets caught. This is the sight that greeted me when I first came to check out my apartment. Because gallows humor is my default mode, I knew this was a truly appropriate omen.

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