On the Move

A mighty river of birds is flooding our state right now, a sea of migration as inexorable as the tides. Each night, birds by the million leap into the sky from their winter homes throughout the tropics and deserts and plains of the south. With only the power from their own tiny muscles and—if they’re lucky—an occasional helpful tailwind, they fly hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles in one go, arriving at their waystations at dawn, exhausted, thirsty, hungry.

We see them here at the Fill every day now, clinging to a likely branch, perched on a trembling stem, searching for a meal that will replenish their stores of fat. Many of the birds are making this epic journey north for the first time in their lives. Many more have done it before and know the way. Their songs fill the morning with sound, sweet for some, raspy for others, each species singing a different tune, following a slightly different pattern of travel, of life.

Male Lazuli Bunting at the Fill.

Take a moment to listen, to search the next quaking twig you see to spot a little shape that may pop into view for only a second. Give the traveler a nod or a smile, congratulate the visitor on coming this far, encourage the ones who still have farther to go. The birds won’t care, but you might. Because for one small moment, you will be the conscious witness of a true wonder of nature, and in that moment, you will rejoin the natural world in which we all live.