|OUTSIDE MY KITCHEN WINDOW, |
HOUSE FINCHES AND HUMMINGBIRDS PERCH ON THE
This week's arts and culture column begins like this:
“The Messenger” is a 2015 documentary directed and written by Sy Rynard.
According to the press kit’s synopsis, “ ‘The Messenger’ is a visually thrilling ode to the beauty and importance of the imperiled songbird, and what it will mean to all of us on both a global and human level if we lose them.”
This, in other words, is a film for us bird lovers the world over.
Songbirds have been singing for millions of years. No matter the age or civilization, people have always understood birds to be messengers. Their message at the moment is that our planet is ill.
Geese, ducks, herons: none are songbirds. Songbirds are distinguished by their more complicated vocal organ, or syrinx. Songbirds tend to be small and tenacious. Songbirds migrate and 10 billion die each year. No one knows where they go. (But God does: “Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29)
Songbirds are most vulnerable during migration. While trying to refuel, they have to stop down in people’s backyards and parks. This can be perilous. It’s estimated that cats, for example, kill more than 1.4 billion birds a year. Cats are an invasive species, claim the bird lovers, not native or natural to any environment, and have been responsible for the extinction of 32 species of songbirds.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.