Monday, June 16, 2008

Teenage Angst

My, how much you've grown!

Life moves at warp speed in the bird world. The baby American Avocets at San Joaquin are already starting to show their breeding colors through their fluff, and the little baby Killdeer are looking and acting more like their parents:

For reasons I won't go into, the past few months have been really rough for me, and birding has been a source of both sadness and solace. Sadness, because the swiftness with which their lives unfold remind me of how short life is, and how much of my own life has been wasted. Solace, because, well, any world with Yellow Warblers in it can't be all bad.

Some of this year's babies have hit adolescence before I even realized they had been born. At Canyon Park yesterday, I saw lots of little olive-and-yellow birds darting about in the underbrush, chirping strangely. I'm guessing, from their numbers, their size and shape, and their behavior that they were young Common Yellowthroats. Noisy Hooded Orioles were everywhere, rattling and whistling from the treetops. A few, I suspect, also appear to be young ones just getting their adult plumage, such as this not-so-brightly-colored male:

EDIT: I checked Sibley, and found that this is a first-summer male, one this last year's babies.

It's fitting that the birds hit flight-readiness during graduation season. And they don't have to sit through pompous speeches about following their dreams and making the world a better place for the following generations of Orioles/Killdeer/Avocets. Their job is just to be.

Making the world a better place for them is our job.

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