My husband, Mark, used to own the LP pictured here, Cantos de Aves do Brasil (Brazilian Bird Calls), back in the days when people used to own LPs. It was a serious piece of research, recorded back in the late '50s by Johan Dalgas Frisch, a Brazilian engineer and ornithologist. I was proud that it was part of our record collection, though I hardly listened to it. It's not exactly something you can put on the record player and tap your toe to. In fact, it wasn't until we left New York and moved to Búzios, and the first Brazilian bird crashed into our living-room window and perished (our first big drama here), that I started to pay real attention to the amazing birds soaring and dipping and gliding and singing all around us. I've wanted to write about them for a long time, but thought I couldn't write anything without knowing their names. But you know, I will never know all their names, in any language. So why not just put up all the pretty pictures? I do know some names, after all, and we can make the others up.
I'm going to start off with the prize, this gorgeous creature who came to visit for the first time last week, and stayed for hours before flying off. It was completely untroubled by our presence, by our picture-taking, by our talking. This bird seemed so used to being near humans that we thought maybe it was someone's escaped pet. I wish it would come back.
This one has a name! It's a bem-ti-vi (or great kiskadee), called so because the name mimics its call, or tries to. They're very common here, but no less beautiful because of that. There are two in this picture. Can you find Waldo?
We have lots of hummingbirds, but rarely do they sit still for a picture. This one did.
The garça (egret) is one of the most exquisitely graceful birds I've ever seen.
I don't know what these are, I call them the "tiny black-and-whites."
Next door to us there's a wooded area that houses large families of this bird, the martin pescador, or kingfisher. It has an awful cackle, but it's fun to watch.
Other families who live in that treed lot are brown doves, cooing, cooing, cooing all the time. And yes, they often do sit nestled up next to each other. It's really sweet.
Lots of seagulls by the sea. No surprise here.
We hear this one before we see it. It's the extremely noisy woodpecker.
Since I began this post with a gorgeous bird, I shall end it with this really ugly vulture.