Killdeer | Sunland, WA | February 2020

Resting Birds #1 |The list of birds I know on sight stretches to about, um, nine. Crows, robins, pigeons, hawks, eagles, geese, pelicans, flamingoes, ostriches, and we’re done. I’m always incredulous when dedicated birdwatchers tell me they traveled to Arizona and spotted 143 different species. Since nobody can actually keep track of that amount of plumage, wing shapes, beak curls, tweets and chirps, my only conclusion is that birders, like the creatures they stalk, engage in flights of fancy. I mean, who’s to know if they spotted a flat-eared quetzal or not? Anyway, one of the three birds I can identify by sound is the killdeer, mostly because its name is nearly the same as its call. Kill-dee! The other two species I know by ear are the mourning dove (“coo-OOO-ooo”) and, from my childhood, the talking mynah bird at the hardware store (“I’m pretty. You’re not!”). That rascal was a straight shooter.