As one of the (un) lucky people whose job was affected by our unfortunate economy, I knew that I couldn’t allow myself to wallow and sink into a blue mood. I decided to make hay while the sun shines and instead of sitting home moping, have been taking advantage of this free time to go birding. Alot. As in, 102 birds seen by January 31st. Not too shabby for 31 days! Although distressed about my situation, there is something about being outdoors in the brisk cool air that helps lift one's mood.
One bird that I was able to observe was the dovekie that found its way into a marina in Great River. See below for Brent's posting on the bird. Dovekies are alcids (or auks, a highly specialized and ecologically diverse group of marine, wing-propelled pursuit-diving birds, such as murrelets, puffins and razorbills) and normally birds of the open ocean. Thanks to the various storms, accompanied by high winds, that have been occurring, there has been a pretty large influx of them on Long Island. Dovekies are finding their way into wildlife rehabilitation facilities across the island and sadly, most of them are not making it. This individual defeated the odds long enough to become a local celebrity.
First spotted on Monday, January 25, 2010, this diminutive chubbette caused quite a sensation, making the local tv news, Newsday, birder's blogs and listservs. If you visit our Facebook page, you can follow the blogs and videos that chronicled it’s almost week long stay here. Never having seen one before, I raced out to catch a glimpse. Excited to add a lifer bird to my list, I was not prepared for what I encountered. This was not a bird to simply check off the list and move on from. This was an experience to savor and treasure.
The word cute doesn't even begin to describe this pint sized auk, who was observed motoring around as if were a windup toy over the inlet, eliciting “ooh”s and “aaaah”s and "he's so cute"s as it dove, swam and preened its way into the observing birders’ hearts. The dovekie stayed from Monday to Saturday giving birders extraordinary and rare close up views. I visited the dovekie three times and each time was just as enchanted as the first. This bird touched my heart in so many ways...its cuteness, its spunk, its determination to survive in unfamiliar territory. Much to our dismay, it was nowhere to be found on Sunday. As someone who understands wildlife and the perils of life in nature, realistically I know what probably happened to it. But I cannot help but wish and hope that this little dovekie, who wormed his way into so many people's hearts, managed to find his way back out onto the ocean.
For almost a week this little dovekie brought smiles to the faces of all that saw it and made me forget my troubles. This spunky small bird was a gift and we can only hope that wherever he is now, he is flying free, as he was meant to.