Black sunflower seeds littered a glistening, greasy driveway below the late-model marigold, chrome-trimmed car. Behind the low, rear left tire, a score of house sparrows darted from place to place pecking the ground. Popping the seeds open they quickly gobbled the insides up. I had this bird but I hadn’t had its picture.
“Look, common ground doves.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw there in and among the small little brownish birds, a few larger grayish birds. My focus stayed on adjusting the viewfinder of a camera I was still learning to use. I had that bird, but didn’t have its picture either.
When finally finished with my fumbling, I pointed the camera’s elongated lens toward my seed-eating subjects. They scattered like a frightened flock of birds – which they were of course – but the term means so much more to me now.
I realized then and there that I wouldn’t be able to photograph the birds we see and also narrate our adventures in doing so. “Mimic, would you mind taking over the narrative?”
“Sure,” he said, always ready to help. “But where should I begin?”
“Now is as good a place as any. We just spotted Egyptian Geese and…”
After admiring the Egyptian Geese for a while, we decided to make a turn-a-round and head back to the duck pond. We drove to a turn-a-round, turned around, and on the way back Hawkeye yelled, “DOVE!” When Hawkeye says ‘bird!’ or a bird name, all eyes focus on where she’s pointing.
Snowfeather and I got a good view, since the bird was out our window. Beaker had to get closer to me to see it. But what where we looking at? – A white-winged dove walking on the sidewalk. One of the larger doves, white-wings are distinguished from the others by the white edge on their wings. In flight you mainly see a blur of black and white. Which is what we saw when this skittish dove thought the huge silver beast was too close for comfort.
When we drove away I asked Beaker, “Did you see that white-winged dove?”
He answered, “No.”
I was surprised. “What? You didn’t see that white-winged dove just now?”
His tone of voice changed. “Wait. No, I saw it but I didn’t get a picture of it. That’s what I meant.”
I reassured Beaker. “Don’t worry. White-wings are really common. You’ll get pictures.”
Although Beaker didn’t get pictures of that dove, that day, he did get some of the other birds.