red oleander, blue sky, bright sun

above the hum and buzz of insects
the fluttering chatter of songbirds; higher still,
the sour weep and bark of eagles

As I’ve said before (in the old post bluebirds and probably elsewhere) I’m not particularly fond of birds but they tend to crop up a lot in my poetry.

I don’t recognise many bird calls, but some demand attention and recently I’ve linked the harsh barking and thin high keening with a pair of huge birds of prey. Each time I hear it I leave my desk to go and check if the birds are actually in sight; sadly, I am so dazzled – by the birds’ magnificence, and by the sun! – that I still haven’t worked out whether they really are eagles.

The sign at the entrance to the village claims this is home to the águila imperial, but listening to the bird calls at the website suggests that our visitors may be aguiluchos (harriers) not águilas (eagles), or perhaps even ratoneros (buzzards); there are far too many sound files to listen and remember them all, though, and even after reading up on the birds of the area I’m still not sure.

The website tells me that

entre la abundante avifauna de Gredos hay que destacar dos especies consideradas en peligro de extinción: el águila imperial y la cigüeña negra, otras seis están consideradas vulnerables: garza imperial, cigüeña común, alimoche, aguilucho cenizo, tórtola y buitre negro, pero la lista continúa: águila calzada, águila culebrera, azor, gavilán, buitre leonado, águila real, pechiazul, acentor alpino, roquero rojo, colirrojo tizón…

So I know that the Gredos area is home to – in various degrees of endangerment – the imperial eagle, black stork, purple heron, white stork, Egyptian vulture, Montagu’s harrier, turtle dove, monk vulture, booted eagle, short-toed eagle, goshawk, sparrowhawk, griffon vulture, golden eagle, bluethroat, alpine sparrow, rock thrush, black redstart…

With all those around – plus the rabliargos, abubillas, arrendajos, buntings, warblers, titmice, woodpeckers, etc. that visit the garden – maybe it’s not surprising that there are so many birds in my writing.

My poetry tends to be very visual, so it’s also an interesting challenge to try and describe their flight and sounds in words. (I continue to fail miserably at capturing them in photos, even when they sit relatively still.)

swallows on a telephone wire

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

One thought on “soundtrack”

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