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For the future Pine Grosbeaks in my life

October 28, 2011

Literary Birders! I don’t think I’ve laid eyes on a Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator) yet, since it’s a Boreal bird, and Toronto isn’t exactly in the middle of the Boreal forest.

Here he is in all his radical red glory! This bird is reason alone to visit Alaska and the Yukon, where he regularly hangs out. The Grosbeaks I’m accustomed to seeing around here are Rose-Breasted and, on occasion, Evening.

I encountered the Pine grosbeak a few weeks ago, in Banff, in Clea Roberts’ wonderful poetry collection Here is Where We Disembark (Freehand Books, 2010). Clea is a fabulous poet living and writing in the Yukon. She writes beautifully about the Northern landscape and equally exquisitely about birds! She also has amazing taste in childrens’ socks — if you meet her stunningly cute children, you’ll be mightily impressed by the argyle patterns covering their feet! Here is one of my favorites from her collection:

Pine Grosbeaks

In February
even borrowed
colour is welcome.

Birds as red
and plump as apples
bob in the pine trees,
sharpen their beaks,
dream fine, green buds
months away.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2011 10:54 am

    Lovely!! We have these birds here in winter and they are always cheering and exciting to watch during the bleakest months of the year when there is no other colour in the landscape.

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