• Jeff Matthews

Weekend Edition: A Warbler Takes to Manhattan

Walking towards the skating rink at Rockefeller Center on this quiet Sunday morning, I noticed an unusual flurry of birds in the plantings along the water fountains lining the middle of the walkway connecting Fifth Avenue and John D. Rockefeller’s masterpiece of urban renewal.

The birds were sparrows—the scavengers of the city—and nothing particularly nice to look at, except they were having such a great time feeding off the unusual tall grasses and birch trees planted by the pools of water.

Looking closer, I found the sparrows were busy picking seeds that had budded on the tips of the ripe grass, and they seemed extremely jazzed about the whole experience, most likely because it wasn’t at all like the half-empty, ketchup-smeared McDonald’s bag they usually pick apart for their lunch.

This time it was the real deal.

But there was an odd sound—a non-sparrow sound—and an odder flutter among the plants, and I noticed that one of the birds was not a plain old brownish speckled dust-grimed New York City sparrow, but a female Yellowthroat…tiny, delicate and olive-brown with a dull yellow throat.

She was doing the usual warbler thing—hopping around among the lower branches of the birch tree and the clumps of grass, chirping and acting generally like a 7 year old boy on a sugar high.

Yellowthroats come from as near as Florida and as far as Argentina in the spring to nest and hatch fledglings and hop around the lower branches of trees while they look for insects and seeds to eat…and by now they would have returned south. But this one was clearly enjoying the little ecosystem set up there right in the middle of Manhattan.

It was a nice, if temporary, affirmation that, try as the human race might, we haven’t yet killed off every last vestige of nature.

Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up

© 2005 Jeff Matthews The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations.

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