The Birds

Late summer 2008. We're eating lunch on the picnic table behind our house in the north end of Saint John.

A flock of unfamiliar birds flits to the boughs of a poplar tree in the centre of our yard. At first glance, they are grey with yellow tips on their tails. As we keep watching, we see their feathers hint at tones of peach and yellow.

Erin: Beautiful.

Me: What are they?

Two-year-old Henry: Cedar waxwings. 

We are not shocked at all. Henry, at age two, has devoured our copy of Peterson's Guide to Eastern Birds. Literally. The book is held together by his saliva and a roll of duct tape.

It's the only book he ever wants to read. We have leafed through its pages hundreds of times. I am not exaggerating when I say he has memorized every bird in it.

We wonder sometimes if it will be a life-long love of birds, or whether it's a passing phase fed by the ooohs and aaaahs of visitors when we trot out the book to display Henry's genius party trick.


This week. The kids and I walk around the campus at UPEI enjoying the spring weather.

A half-dozen small birds dart back and forth from the shelter of a bush to the limbs of an over-hanging tree. We stop and watch. A woman walks by.

Woman: Wow, neat birds! I wonder what kind they are.

Henry: Chickadees. 

The woman is impressed.

Woman: That's pretty good. Do you know a lot about birds?

Henry: Nah. I only know chickadees. And crows. They're black.

1 comment:

Craig Wesley said...

Clearly a *born* card player, is old Henry. Keeps 'em close to the vest, never let on what he's holding until it's time to lay them out with a flourish. Maximum satisfaction.