Saturday, July 18, 2020

Still Life with Robin....and 99 Other Birds

Robin - Photo by Charles J. Sharp via Creative Commons

by Peggy Robin

The ”Still Life with Robin” column is meant to be about strictly local things – but I do so much want everyone to visit the Audubon Society’s Top 100 Bird Photos of 2020 that I will go to great lengths to tease out a local connection. There are 100 phenomenal photos of birds in this collection, and that includes exactly one taken in Washington, DC. It’s #10 as you scroll down the page at -- and it’s the red-tailed hawk (a/k/a redhawk). Serendipitously, that’s the one that’s become perhaps the leading contender to become the new name/mascot for the Washington Football team. Now, instead of seeing what the bird looks like as a stylized logo, you can see what one looks like in real life – its image captured in the city, framed by a "V" formed by two red brick walls. Magnificent!

As you look through all the other images of birds, you will notice one of the most photographed – and photogenic – species is the owl. There are great horned owls, gray owls, snowy owls, short-eared owls, burrowing owls, and many more. Be sure to scroll all the way down to photo #79: It’s a barn owl, photographed in Fauquier County, VA. That’s close enough to home. It makes me think we may have passed up a chance at another great avian-themed name: The Washington Owls. Just think how great it would be to have an owl as our team's iconic animal. It’s a local species. And owls are known for their swiftness, agility, strength, and prowess in the field. According to ancient folklore, they are wise. Dignified, too. If it’s not too late, someone should get a logo design for The Washington Owls over to Dan Snyder!

Looking over all of the photos, I see just one more bird photo taken in the general vicinity of Washington DC: It’s # 44, the tree swallow – and I never knew we had such a brilliantly colored species in our area, where most of our birds are drably feathered to blend in with the woods. This shot of the electric blue head of the male peeking out his home in a tree overlooking the Rappahannock in Virginia is well worth a look!

And for the grand finale of this “Still Life with Robin,” I give you…..the Robin! Go to photo #5, taken in Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada. (Though the photo was taken in Canada, it’s still an American Robin.) And I’m sure it’s hoppin' and boppin' and singin' this song:

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

1 comment:

  1. This post made my day, week, etc. The photos are magnificent.

    In case you didn’t notice, these weren’t even the winners – there are 10 more pics (6 winners and 4 runners-up) at the link at the end of the page with the 100.

    Thanks for this and for everything else you do to keep our wonderful listserv going.