Friday, March 15, 2013

Big-beaked finch has flown

An adjective that amuses me in the case of wild birds is "sedentary", which evokes a vision of a couple of tiny birds that have just flown in from Africa.

The male bird says to his wife:
"I don't know about you, dear, but I'm exhausted. In any case, I like this place. I got the address from a finch I ran into down in Morocco. He told me it's called Gamone, and the owner provides a regular stock of sunflower seeds. Why don't we settle down here for a while?" 
 And the female bird replies:
"Sure, dear, you're preaching to the choir. You know I've always told you I wouldn't mind leading a sedentary existence, at least for a while, instead of our usual jet-set lifestyle, traveling constantly from one land to another. I'd be happy to just sit around in the sun... as soon as it appears. And I'm sure we'd have more opportunities to spend time with the kids."

It's time that I got around to naming correctly the beautiful bird that stopped here at Gamone for a week or so. I used to referred to it disrespectfully, here, as the "Galapagos guy". That was a silly nickname, because everybody knows that the passerine birds studied by Charles Darwin on the Galapagos were not in fact real finches.

My ex-wife (and constant friend) Christine Mafart succeeded rapidly (I don't know how) in identifying my big-beaked visitor. He was a Hawfinch [Coccothraustes coccothraustes, known in French as a Gros-bec casse-noyaux]. I use the past tense "was" because I think my bird has finally flown, after a brief stay at Gamone. I'm left with a set of splendid images of this exotic big-beaked creature, while hoping that he'll retain my address for a visit next winter.

This morning, I found another family of finches hanging around in the same area.

These dark little birds don't match the majestic beauty of my glorious pink-legged big-beaked Hawfinch... who liked to tap on my bedroom window, imagining his mirror reflection as an alien bird. I hope he'll be back here at Gamone in a year's time.

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