In honor of National Bird Day, enjoy an excerpt from John Bevis's Aaaaw to Zzzzzd: The Words of Birds. In this passage he answers the question, "What's so special about birds?"
Let’s start at home. I’m in my Shropshire garden, an untidy patch whose lower slopes were last seen pitching into woods somewhere toward the River Severn. The rain stopped a little while ago, and the air’s full of that sweet smell of wet foliage, the hazy patter of water droplets shaking through the hedges, warm moist air lifting off uncut grass. There’s a blue tit on bug patrol, picking over the green pigment of lichen on the dark side of a holly tree. An agitation in the clematis overwhelming the back wall emerges as that little familiar bundle of nerves, a wren. Then a clap in the valley, a wood pigeon slapping the tips of its wings together as it hauls too steeply into the air and, like a toy airplane running out of rubber, stalls and drops into a fast glide toward the far trees. And here’s the possible cause of its abrupt departure, wheeling in over the hilltop, the fretwork silhouette of a buzzard.