A Bird Haiku Per Day in May

White-crowned sparrow, photo by Jeremy Schwartz

The month of May has been pretty significant for me recently.

First off, going way back to 2009, May is when my wife and I started dating. For that reason alone, May has held a special place in my heart for the last eight years.

Last year, though, May represented another new beginning for me: my love affair with birdwatching.

Me in traditional birdwatching garb.

I had always been interested in nature and animals. I never grew out of my dinosaur phase from childhood. But last May, I got the birdwatching (or birding) bug, and bad. I can’t really put my finger on why in that place and at that time. My wife and her family had always been into birding some and have more than a passing knowledge of the birds that lived in their backyard, so that probably helped.

Whatever the reason, I committed myself to taking birdwatching seriously last May. Luckily, this is one of the most active times of the year for birds in my Pacific Northwest home. My wife and I embarked on a “Big May,” a shorter and way less labor intensive version of a “Big Year” in which birdwatchers travel all over North America trying to count as many different species as they can in a year. We logged 54 different species in May 2016. Not bad, though the current North American Big Year record is 780 individual species. My Life List, or list of birds I’ve so far seen and been able to ID, now stands at 111.

This May, I’ve set a goal of writing one bird haiku a day, based on my life list so far. Given that my life list is in the low hundreds, this will actually take me well beyond the month of May. But “A bird haiku a day in May” just has a nice ring to it, doesn’t?

Consider this, then, my first haiku entry in May: White-crowned Sparrow:

Zebra-striped above

Song that meets the rising sun

Winter visitors

Stay tuned for more!


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