Kingdom = Animalia
phylum = chordata
Class = Aves

They have feathers, are bipeds with wings, are warm blooded, lay eggs, and most of them fly.

The study of birds is called ornithology.
Ornithologists study all things avian.

birds - 5-26-00, 8:20 am

a bird of jealousy has red and mandarin wings
it drips liquid flame, blood orange
its feathers blaze as it glows in the night
a bird of jealousy looks like an approaching ball of fire
distorting the area above and around with heat

a bird of love has wings red as roses
it lets free silver plumes that disintegrate
after a show in the sky
its feathers, rose petals, swirling and mixing in various shades
a bird of love looks like an approaching apple, split
the initiatior of our humanity

a bird of life has wings of green and grey forest branches
casting crystal blue water upon our dry souls, invigorating us
its feathers are glorious earthen leaves
a bird of life looks like an approaching wreath
from a good distance
clearing the sky of manmade distortions

a bird of death has wings of cloud
dispersing ash as it flutters
its feathers are grey plumes of smoke
it looks like a passing dream in the sky
a peripheral blur
from any distance it lingers, soaked in us
Bowling Green is surrounded by a patch of cobblestoned sidewalks, and the pigeon was lying in the sun on the uneven stones. It was on its side and stiff, dead. I almost stepped on it. When I finally moved away a van backed into the spot he'd been waiting for and parked its ass. The shade would keep it safe for a bit.

They found it outside in the parking lot, and brought it in, scooped with a plastic bowl. The bowl sat on our teacher's desk through Earth Science, algebra, and English Composition.

It was a small small thing, transluscent pink and tiny beak. Little beads for eyes and you could see veins, blue and quivering through its skin-like membrane. No feathers. Spindly legs like slivered toothpicks, heaving. When it stopped, we buried it near the climbing tree and went back inside.

It is snowing today and people are using umbrellas to save their hair. The couple in front of me crosses the street and she is so intent on wresting her umbrella open that she does not notice she has stepped on a flattened out sparrow. It is a mess of feathers and little broken bones. I can't even stop.

The nice principal, Mrs T., remembered that I was the one who buried the first almost-fledgeling and came to tell me there was another one in the school's circular driveway. This one's already dead, she said. Can you bury it?

I buried it near where I'd buried the other one. It was two years and the brick had grass growing through its holes. I found another brick to cover the freshly dug earth and they sat like twin tombstones.

Picture this: you walk out of your home and onto your lawn, when suddenly you see many small, fluttering objects in the air! Is it a terrorist attack?

No. What you are seeing are birds, and they are perfectly normal. Any scientist will tell you that birds are small airborne animals related to the fish. While the shape of their bodies are similar to those of their marine brothers and sisters, they are covered in feathers, not scales. And their fins (called "wings") propel them through the air, not through water!

Birds survive by eating common outdoor pests like insects and rodents. In this way they serve Man. Birds can only see the world in five colors and are unable to distinguish between upper and lower-case letters, making them unable to fully understand newspapers. You can recognize birds by their sharp beaks and one or more of the distinctive cries they emit:

  • Cheep!
  • Caw! Caw!
  • Hoot!
  • Scree!
  • Monkey, monkey, monkey, monkey, William Shatner! (Peculiar to the Twitted Thrush of the upper Northwest. The similarity of this birdcall to common English words is mere coincidence; birds do not understand the concepts "monkey" or "William Shatner".)
  • Awk!

Almost any bird tastes good with a little seasoning, from the mightiest eagle to the tiniest nuthatch. Birds can be trained to perform time-saving tasks around the house, track down desperate criminals, and even mine precious black coal from the bowels of the Earth. So here's to you, birds! Whether you are soaring free across the blazing blue sky or pecking madly at the bars of a cage, you will always live in our hearts.

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