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Great Hair

August 9, 2010

I often struggle with my hair. It’s like I have this vision of the all-time perfect hairdo, the hairdo to end all hairdos, the Uber-Hairdo, if you will, and, well, things never work out quite as gloriously as I wish. I think I like the idea of hair more than hair itself.

So, imagine my joy when I saw dozens of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) in Luther Marsh a couple days ago! Now this is a bird with the most exquisite hairdo ever. This is a bird who never has to stand in front of the mirror wondering whether mousse or gel or some sort of pomade would do the trick and finally abandoning all three overpriced options in favor of a pony tail or, better yet, a hair clip. This is a bird who has no hair issues. This is a bird I’d love to be.

Wouldn’t you call that perfection? Cornell’s ornithology site is absolutely right to call this bird “sleek”. Now that’s self-assurance, total unwavering confidence, if you ask me. In fact, the more I look at this cedar waxwing, the more I feel it looks like the vision I have of ME with perfect hair! All that’s missing is a Tilley Hat…

Basically, that’s my new favorite bird. We also saw a bunch of Sandhill Cranes in flight, which was lovely. The purpose of our trip to Luther Marsh was to catch a glimpse of the Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus), a rarity here in Ontario, since it hails from Oklahoma. It has the longest tail I’ve ever seen on a bird! We waited and waited (along with about 17 other cars full of Tilley-hat-wearing folks with all sorts of nifty scopes) and when we finally decided to take a break for lunch, Tyrannus forficatus made an appearance. Our sighting was not meant to be; I’ll have to catch a glimpse of the bird with the coolest tail on earth next time I pass through Oklahoma.

We did, however, catch numerous glimpses of another member of the Tyrant genus, the Eastern Kingbird (very conveniently called Tyrannus tyrannus — I guess the bird is enough of a tyrant…). You’ll be happy to know that the tyrannus genus is fairly expansive and even includes a poor bird called the Tyrannus melancholicus (otherwise known as the Tropical Kingbird) — I love the idea of a melancholy tyrant, but it looks like I’ll have to travel to Southern Texas to see that gem, and that sure isn’t happening in 2010.

It was a great day, and nothing beat the colossally coiffed cedar waxwings.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2010 2:12 pm

    That’s some good hair. It’s so cute and sleek and perfect. When you see him in September, ask Stephen what he thinks of birds. Particularly Canada Geese.

  2. August 11, 2010 1:13 pm

    I am writing an omnibus review of books on work for Briarpatch Magazine, and I came across this passage in Richard Donkins’s _Blood, Sweat and Tears_. It made me think of you. The context of the discussion is the advent of “outplacement” counsellors who help white collar workers find their vocation after they have been laid off. “How do you step away from one successful career and pursue what some might call a pipe dream? In mentioning birds, I was recalling Josep del Hoyo. Del Hoyo didn’t lose his job. He was very happily employed as a family doctor in a village in Spain. Often people would visit his clinic only to find a sign on the door saying In the Woods. Back Soon. Del Hoyo’s real passion was wildlife. Gradually, bird-watching began to predominate. It might have remained a hobby, but there was something niggling him: nowhere could he find a book that listed and described every species of bird known to man. So he decided to create one. _The Handbook of the Birds of the World_ really is an act of creation. Del Hoyo isn’t writing it all–that would be far too great a task–but he is making it happen. He is the editor. It is his project. By the time it is finished in 2008, it will consist of twelve volumes. … Del Hoyo commissions plates from some of the world’s finest painters of birds. He buys the work, so by the time the project is complete he will have a unique collection of artwork depicting every one of the nine to ten thousand types of birds we know to exist. …’I feel very grateful to birds because they have given me the chance to travel the world doing the things that I enjoy,’ says Del Hoyo, whose personal philosophy is inspired by a quote from Pablo Neruda …:’Bird by bird I knew the world.’ What a wonderful way to launch a new career. Del Hoyo isn’t Superman. He simply discovered what he wanted in life and decided to make it happen.”

    • August 12, 2010 10:58 am

      Wow! That’s so interesting & amazing! I’m not quite at that stage/level yet 🙂 Who knows, maybe there are birds in my future?!

  3. August 12, 2010 10:35 pm

    When I was down at the Crestn Wetland Wildlife Centre in Southern BC in June with my herb class, we passed a fellow on the boardwalk who was clutching his binoculars and gesticulating at a tree, then he turned, all wild eyed, and blurted out “Waxwings! Waxwings! They’re nesting here!” I wanted to stop and take a look because they are so beuatiful but my entire class just kept on going, totally ingnoring the bird nerd and when we were out of earshot someone said, “Really, we’re PLANT people, not BIRD people.” Why can’t I be both?


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