The Simple Explanation


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.

Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant

This is the smallest songbird in Panama, just 2.75 inches long, and essentially tailless. This photo is about twice life size.

Long-tailed Tyrant

Long-tailed Tyrant

This flycatcher, a Long-tailed Tyrant, has a tail that is longer than its body.

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Red-legged Honeycreeper

For color and belligerent attitude, it’s hard to beat the 4.75 inch Red-legged Honeycreeper.

Golden-collared Mannikin

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.

Roadside Hawk After a Rainstorm

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.

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5 thoughts on “The Simple Explanation

  1. No, if they can’t see the wonder and beauty right in front of them, no amount of words will open their eyes. I don’t do jungles really, but I would if I could get to see these amazing creatures! Have fun down there and watch out for the jungle rot.

  2. Oh, my goodness, what beauty! I hope you get a chance to photograph the rest of their cousins. Great photos, no false modesty please. Gorgeous shots, crisp foregrounding, lovely background washes of color, wonderful foliage details, drops of water off the barbed wire. Thanks for sharing the products of your talent, patience and steady aim. I’d swear I can see the pygmy-tyrant breathing.

  3. Today is my 58 birthday.
    There is a dusting of snow on the ground, not enough to shovel, but enough to make it beautiful. And a lt snow is falling.
    We feed the birds in the front and back.
    As I am typing this, a cardinal is waiting on the small tree by our window for his turn at the feeder. There a blue jay on the other tree
    Beauty enough to make this a very happy day!

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