Pablo Neruda poem on birding

Becacina, Lago Deseado, Isla Grande Tierra del Fuego from Daniel González Amat on Vimeo.

This is a video of a South American snipe, filmed in the far south of Chile.

To the Pablo Neruda poem on birds, I have added videos, and hyperlinks to the bird species which the poet probably or certainly meant while writing.

From New Zealand Birds:

Pablo Neruda poem

The Poet Says Goodbye to the Birds

A provincial poet and birder, I come and go about the world,
just whistle my way along,
to the sun and its certainty,
to the rain’s violin voice,
to the wind’s cold syllable.

In the course
of past lives
and preterit disinterments, I’ve been a creature of the elements
and keep on being a corpse in the city:
I cannot abide the niche,
prefer woodlands with startled
pigeons, mud, a branch of
chattering parakeets,
the citadel of the condor, captive
of its implacable heights,
the primordial ooze of the ravines adorned with slipperworts.

Yes yes yes yes yes yes,
I’m an incorrigible birder,
cannot reform my ways –
though the birds
do not invite me
to the treetops,
to the ocean
or the sky,
to their conversation, their banquet,
I invite myself,
watch them
without missing a thing:
yellow-rumped siskins,
dark fishing cormorants
or metallic cowbirds,
vibrant hummingbirds,
eagles native
to the mountains of Chile,
meadowlarks with pure
and bloody breasts,

This is a long-tailed meadowlark video.

wrathful condors
and thrushes,
hovering hawks, hanging from the sky,
finches that taught me their trill
nectar birds and foragers,
blue velvet and white birds,
birds crowned by foam
or simply dressed in sand,
pensive birds that question
the earth
and peck at its secret
or attack the giant’s bark
and lay open the wood’s heart
or build with straw, clay, and rain
the fragrant love nest
or join thousands of their kind
forming body to body, wing to wing,
a river of unity and movement,
severe birds among the rocky crags,
ardent, fleeting,
lusty, erotic birds,
inaccessible in the solitude
of snow and mist,
in the hirsute hostility
of windswept wastes,
or gentle gardeners
or robbers
or blue inventors of music
or tacit witnesses of dawn.

A people’s poet,
provincial and birder,
I’ve wandered the world in search of life:
bird by bird I’ve come to know the earth:

discovered where fire flames aloft:
the expenditure of energy
and my disinterestedness were rewarded,
even though no one paid me for it,
because I received those wings in my soul
and immobility never held me down.

— Pablo Neruda

translated by Jack Schmitt,
University of Texas Press, 1989

Britain: The RSPB is warning that although birds will start visiting your tables and feeders in flocks for winter food any time soon, it masks a serious decline in numbers of many common species: here.

The California quail’s acclimatisation in New Zealand has been most successful and is common in open country especially hilly regions cleared of forest and in fern and tutu country: here.

Green Parakeets in unusual courtship behaviour, Mexico: here.

7 thoughts on “Pablo Neruda poem on birding

  1. South American bird found in Chicago

    CHICAGO, April 22 (UPI) — Chicago bird-watchers say they’ve found a South American white-crested elaenia 7,000 miles away from home — only the second to be spotted in the United States.

    Two Oak Park brothers spied the green and white bird last week during a routine bird-watching trip to Douglas Park. The teens posted photographs on Facebook on the Illinois Birders’ Forum, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday, and other bird-watchers quickly weighed in to confirm the boys’ suspicions.

    “You’re finding something that shouldn’t be there,” said Ethan Gyllenhaal, 16. “It’s so weird to think that it flew 7,000 miles away. You just happen to be looking at the right tree and the right time.”

    “It’s kind like being a proud parent,” said Aaron Gyllenhaal, 15.

    The elaenia — about 13.5 to 15 centimeters long and weighing about half an ounce — is normally found in the forest edges in the Andes Mountains, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology said.

    The American Birding Association has not confirmed the bird is, in fact, a white-crested elaenia. No one seems to know how or why the bird traveled 7,000 miles to perch in Douglas Park, the Tribune said.


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