April 10, 2015
A Trip for the Birds
- as seen by -John Rowden @National Audubon Society@audubonsociety
A cross-country road trip from New York to California via the southern route seemed like the perfect opportunity to feed my inner bird nerd by trying to spot every state bird in the state they were so honored.
My endeavor had an inauspicious start when the short drive from Manhattan’s East Village to the Holland Tunnel yielded no eastern bluebirds (although truthfully I would’ve been shocked if it had.)
I was similarly unlucky in New Jersey (American goldfinch), Pennsylvania (ruffed grouse), Maryland (Baltimore oriole) and Virginia (northern cardinal.) Perhaps interstate driving wasn’t the best strategy for my quest.
Finally, a walk in North Carolina gave me my first success with that repeater the northern cardinal. (I also saw an eastern bluebird, but sadly couldn’t credit it to the Empire State.)
My next win wasn’t until Texas, where a northern mockingbird flew in front of the car on a side street in Beaumont (let us contemplate for a moment the choice of the northern mockingbird – one of my favorites, true – for the Texas state bird with all the amazing avifauna there.) Texas also yielded a roadrunner (like above,) but sadly I didn’t spot that species in its own state, New Mexico.
My final, and most fitting, sighting was near the end of the journey when a pair of California quail ran across the road in their eponymous state.
Final tally: 16 states, 3 state birds. Maybe next time I should try the northern route?
EDITOR’S NOTE: For our current assignment, we’re celebrating birds. Send us your best. In the New York area? Join us on May 9 for our annual Birdathon at the Bronx Zoo. Bring your camera and take photos for the assignment.