Considering the number of birds around here, it doesn’t happen all that often, but it’s still sad. I’ve tried stickers on the windows, and I close the curtains as much as I can bear, but still a bird neck or two breaks against the few windows of my tiny house every year. I can only imagine what damage those huge glass skyscrapers do.
When my mourning was complete, I fell under the spell of his beauty. His feathers so soft and colorful; the patterns of black and white, red, browns and even yellows so precise and intricate.
I opened a wing to see that each feather was colored in such a way that its placement on the wing contributed to the overall pattern just so. Were this an art project, the advanced planning to create each individual feather with markings to exactly fit its place in the grand scheme would have been astonishing.
For a furred animal, each hair comes from a localized position on the skin. So it’s fairly easy to see how a spot or a stripe arises. My calico cat is awash with stunning swirls of various browns and blacks, but I could paint that by flinging a few coffee and late choices on a canvas with my eyes closed.
On this bird, long feathers extend out from the skin, and lie against each other in a puzzle of overlapping pieces. And they all fit together to make a recognizable pattern, a pattern so repeatable that I can look it up in my Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds and find my red-breasted sapsucker staring back at me from the woodpecker section.
Life is amazing, even in death.