My obsession with Brazilian birds has definitely been growing over the last year and a half. My husband actually introduced me to the iconic Sabiá-laranjeira (Rufous-bellied Thrush) in the few weeks after we first met, but since I was in the UK for most of our relationship, and then living in favelas after we got married, I would perhaps only have recognised toucans and vultures with any degree of certainty. It was only after moving to the Brazilian rural interior that I started really paying attention to the birdlife all around me, and it was then I discovered that I was seeing more than one type of vulture.
The closure of schools and nurseries at the beginning of lockdown meant that our then two year old was with me pretty much all day every day, and stopping for a moment to watch birds when we had the chance to walk around the block, and looking at beautiful bird photos became a way of momentarily escaping the reality of lockdown.
My daughter started asking to look at the bird photos with me on AvesBrazil and would make sure I read out the name of each bird every time, so we ended up learning many of the bird names without that ever having been my aim.
My Brazilian bird poems came about as I discovered the absolutely incredible names of some of the birds here.
I have really enjoyed learning about the birds I come across when out with my family here and very often I only manage an extremely blurry long distance shot (at best). I have been adding them to a thread on Twitter for myself really, as a way to keep them all in one place.
Since coming back to Brazil in June this year, and now the very thankful owner of some spectacularly helpful binoculars, I have been able to clearly see and identify lots of birds for the first time. I could never have imagined how revolutionary binoculars could be, they really are a literal and figurative gift. So I decided to start a thread of birds I’ve come across since coming back, but this time with a link to the relevant WikiAves page and beautiful photo. I’m trying to add some details that stand out to me about each bird too.
I’m hoping that this will be a record for me of birds that I’ve encountered here so that I don’t forget them. I am already grieving my inevitable loss of language when I leave Brazil and trying to capture special moments with birds now will help me say goodbye to them when the moment comes.
I’m hoping to start another thread of birds that I’ve seen since we moved to the interior (for the sake of completeness) but that might have to wait for a bit. And I’m trying to jot down notes and bird poems too because, while I recognise that Brazilian bird poems are a bit niche, writing them is something that brings me great joy and joy is worth holding on to.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you started noticing your surroundings more during lockdown? Or are you finding new ways to remember special moments?