WC was asked recently why he “wastes his time messing around with birds.” Not for the first time. Rather than simply blow the question off with one of his usual smart-ass answers, WC offers a photographic explanation.
Panama is quite a small country, just 29,000 square miles, or about the size of South Carolina. It has approximately 929 species of birds, more than all of North America. Here are a five species, selected at random.
This is the smallest songbird in Panama, just 2.75 inches long, and essentially tailless. This photo is about twice life size.
This flycatcher, a Long-tailed Tyrant, has a tail that is longer than its body.
For color and belligerent attitude, it’s hard to beat the 4.75 inch Red-legged Honeycreeper.
When the male sounds, by snapping its wings much like an exploding firecracker, it fluffs the bright yellow-orange beard out. The males assemble and compete in leks, and the show is indescribable.
This small raptor is about 16 inches long. And, like WC, was trying to dry off a bit after one of the patented tropical deluges.
So that’s five species. There are 924 more. In just this one tiny country. Astonishingly diverse, marvels of adaptation and beautiful beyond words or WC’s poor photographs.
If this doesn’t answer the question, WC’s inquisitor isn’t going to ever understand.