Kevin Short


Welcome to the world of neighborhood birds

Kevin Short / Daily Yomiuri (Mar. 10, 2011)

At this time of year, the weather can be highly unsettled, with several warm balmy days followed by a return to snow and icy winds. But with the second moon of the year already waxing toward first quarter, and the equinox and cherry blossoms looming on the horizon, it’s safe to assume that full-blown spring is just around the corner.

The upcoming turn of the season can be clearly seen in the behavior of the local birds. The huge winter roosts and communal feeding flocks are breaking up as mating pairs begin to establish their own nests and nesting territories. Little sparrows will fight viciously over desirable nesting sites; and the crows, which seemed like one enormous happy family during the cold months, will zealously chase each other out of their respective areas.

This is a good time to get to know your local neighborhood birds. Serious birdwatching requires substantial effort and a good pair of binoculars, but there are a dozen or so species of bird that are so well-adapted to human environments that they can be identified and observed with the naked eye.

Slighly smaller than jungle crow, with thinner bill and more gently sloping forehead. Less common in urban and residential areas, but often seen in suburbs and countryside.

Short is a naturalist and cultural anthropology professor at Tokyo University of Information Sciences.

(Mar. 10, 2011)

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