Proof of life

Wanted alive

In New Zealand, birders are searching for the maybe (or maybe not) extinct orange-wattled South Island kakapo.


Buller Kokako.jpg

South & North Island Kokakos

By J. G. Keulemans, in W.L. Buller’s A History of the Birds of New Zealand, 2nd edition, published 1888 Image courtesy of

More about the elusive South Island kokako at

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead –
Can you be found on earth so?
Or only in twilit thoughts instead,
Be mourned, in that peaceful glow?

All for you: the prayer by day,
The hot sleeplessness at night,
The white flock of poetry,
And the blue fire of my eyes…

from I don’t know if you’re alive or dead, by Anna Akhmatova


Wings overwinter

Winter wings

Image result for cranes texas january image

Whooping cranes (Grus americana) in Aransas Wildlife Refuge, Texas

Image at wikimedia commons

The Cranes, Texas January

I call my wife outdoors to have her listen,

to turn her ears upward, beyond the cloud-veiled

sky where the moon dances thin light,

to tell her, “Don’t hear the cars on the freeway—


it’s not the truck-rumble. It is and is not

the sirens.” She stands there, on deck

a rocking boat, wanting to please the captain

who would have her hear the inaudible.


Her eyes, so blue the day sky is envious,

fix blackly on me, her mouth poised on question

like a stone. But, she hears, after all.

January on the Gulf,

warm wind washing over us,

we stand chilled in the winter of those voices.

by Mark Sanders

More at

Listen to whooping cranes atThe Cornell Lab of Ornithology site

Watch whooping cranes on this Texas Parks and Wildlife video