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Shore Birds
Juliane McAdam


For Norma, my birding guru

I arrive at the beach at The Cloisters,
binoculars and notebook in hand, ready for
my first lesson in identifying shore birds.
“Let’s start here,” she says. “What would you call
that bird?” I answer that I’ve always called it a
sandpiper. “That’s like saying someone in the U.S. is
named Smith,” she replies. “It’s a long-billed curlew.”
And we’re off. Excitedly, I write down names in my
notebook: Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling.
I make notes on identification: probes with a sewing-machine
motion, wings flash white and black, bill upturned or straight,
scurries back and forth at water’s edge.
It’s only a start, but from now on everyone named Smith
will have at least a first and middle name.

© by Juliane McAdam.
Used with the author's permission.



Juliane McAdam spent 25 years as an English teacher, writing poems with her middle school students in Los Angeles. She is now retired and lives near Morro Bay on California’s beautiful Central Coast, where she enjoys writing poems for herself.




Post New Comment:
Really neat to learn this in a poem.
Posted 07/22/2019 10:18 PM
Yes. Clever and poetically sound. Being a bird nut I totally get it.
Posted 07/22/2019 09:20 AM
Very entertaining and well-written. I especially like the end.
Posted 07/22/2019 09:10 AM
Larry Schug:
You've completed the circle so skillfully.
Posted 07/22/2019 07:25 AM
A twitcher's delight!
Posted 07/22/2019 06:18 AM

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