White Crane
White Crane from the US

Of course, I like all birds, but some somehow stand out.

It's very hard to explain why I like birds. Here, I try to explain something about my love for these creatures.

I have two kinds of favourite birds. First there are the intelligent ones, like ravens and parrots. It is fascinating to see such a great amount of intelligence, recognizable for humans, in animals that are much closer related to dinosaurs than to us.

The most intelligent is, I think, the Kea, living in the mountains of New Zealand.

I once played with a Kea in a zoo: the Kea started a game by pushing a stick towards me, and pulling immediately when I tried to pick it up. I would love to see them in the wild, playing in the snow.


The other kind of favourites are geese and cranes, and I guess this is because I am jealous of their life during migration in autumn. Imagine flying huge distances together with your family, to be welcomed by hundreds of relatives and friends whom you know from previous years, landing between them and staying together for the rest of the winter (that is, if you are lucky and no hunters "preserve nature" by shooting you).

When you see them recognize each other and hear them call, it feels like some kind of a celebration. So, when you feel lonely and depressed in winter, just go watch geese or cranes.

To see the Whooping Crane, I will have to visit the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, in winter, one of the many must-do-at-least-once-in-my-life's.


Only two kind of favourite birds? No, I was wrong; there are many more. Terns for instance, because of their grace (anyone who has ever seen a Common Tern flying with its bill pointed downward, over the water, and diving, knows which grace I mean). Or the blackthroated diver (the american name "loon" is better, but the best name is the Swedish Storlom) which I saw in Sweden. This is a very ancient bird, but unlike the cormorant, who looks like the younger brother of Archaeopterix himself whether flying, swimming or drying his feathers, only the eye of the Storlom gives this away. It is the most ancient eye that I can imagine; you see billions of years when you look into it.


© Copyright - Author: Sylvia Stuurman , Pictures: Ernst Anepool .
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