Monday, May 9, 2011

Take a Look: A Scientist’s Description

Last fall, I wrote several posts about the same experience in nature from three different points of view--wondrous first person, serious third person, and the perspective of the creature I had described in the first two posts. Not only was it fun, it was illuminating. So I thought I’d try it again.

Last week, I wrote about a house sparrow gathering nesting materials from the wondrous first person. Today I’m going to try to write about the same bird in the serious third person, as a scientist would in his or her notebook.

12:20 hours, April 14, 2011
West parking lot near retaining wall, Clinton Elementary School, 100 Church St., Clinton, MA
Sunny, clear sky, 62 F, gentle breeze
Declining downtown area of a small, working-class town

Along a retaining wall adjacent to the school lawn, I observed a female house sparrow collecting blades of dry grass in her beak. For several minutes, she hopped up and down cement steps along the wall in search of bits of grass that would meet her needs. Given the time of year, it seems likely that the female was using the grass to build a nest, but no nest was observed.

Each time the female returned with an empty beak, she landed on a wrought iron fence, looked around, and called several times before dropping to the ground to collect more grass. During my 30 minutes of observation, the female gathered three loads of dried grass from a patch on the edge of the lawn.

1 comment:

  1. You know I love this approach.

    I just posted my daughter's scientist's description of a bumblebee today!