DAILY PHOTO: Scarlet Ibis

Taken in the summer of 2018 at Lincoln Park Zoo.

POEM: Ubiquitous Bird’s Eye

On my street, not a thing happens
uncaptured in birds’ eyes.
Hawks sit on streetlamps or corners —
swivel-cowled remote spies.

And the crows lurk by the murder,
swooping to the sidewalk.
Pigeons strut and flap-glide down low —
masters of the sly gawk.

Add myriad flitters and sitters —
high-speed reconnaissance
and those who seem occupied by
a playful mating dance.

They’re squatters, stalkers, and spotters —
but who watches the watchers?

POEM: Black Kite Over Bangalore

The predator commands a post atop a monolithic chimney, which it defends from swooping competitors with a hop, a wing flare, all while going talons up. Its trilling whistle call signals I know not what to I know not whom, but it’s persistent. Its head swivel-snaps around in precise jerks — a clockwork motion. The kite is peering more across the building tops toward the incoming weather than down into the urban valley where it might find a meal. Monsoon season is coming, and it intends to get in some preemptive showers — just to make certain all know that Mother Nature consults no calendars. When a gust hits, the kite beak aligns on the wind direction, but wind shear catches its back feathers, giving it a shabby look.

In the background, I watch its comrades in flight. To say “circling” would be to impose more order than these birds’ chaotic aerial dance warrants. Mostly they glide, each to its own flight plan — occasionally flapping for altitude or making a brief, awkward plummet.

POEM: Avian Game Theory

a murder of crows harasses a hawk,

out to steal the meal that wriggles in its talons.

the hawk giving its all to fighting crow will lose its squirming prey.

no crow is match for a hawk,

but no hawk is match for the murder,

and so all birds go hungry.