I am drawn to birds because of what they represent. Birds are to lizards as flowers are to plants or Angels are to humans. Birds are the evolved incarnation of something else. They are light and free.
In college I took an ornithology class that opened my eyes to the wonder of birding. For those who are unaware, Birding is the act of going out into the natural world with the intention of finding birds and identifying them. Typically, this is done with the aid of a field guide and a pair of binoculars. If you find and identify a bird you have never seen before it is said that you have gotten a “lifer” which is short for first time in your Life.
I have known some “bird nerds” to be completely obsessed with this hobby turned into a lifestyle. You can usually find out who those people are by calling a gull a “sea” gull. A hardcore birder will correct you by informing you that not all gulls live by the sea. In fact, I think most gulls live near landfills. Beware a birders wrath if you mistakenly call a Canada Goose a Canadian Goose. This is another general pet peeve in the birder world.
Their are many different ways to identify birds beyond their field markings. Every bird has a specific habitat. Some like water. Others prefer open fields, forests, mountains, creeks, marshes and so on. Some birds only live in Jack Pine forests while others only eat fish. Another way to identify a species of bird is watching their behavior. For example only 3 species of ducks nest in a tree and only the American Dipper swims to the bottom of a creek and stands on the bottom looking for insects to eat. You can also figure out what bird is near without even seeing it if you know it’s song. Birds sing songs and so do I.
My next album is a concept album that follows the path of an injured bird who takes flight from the nest, migrates, has many adventures, and returns home to the nest transformed. The story is loosely based on my own life. Each song is a chapter in the journey:
SONGBIRD by Stanton West - TRACK LIST:
1. Come & Get It (All is well, Foreshadow)
2. South for the Winter (Main Character Introduction)
3. Black-eyed Susan (Take Flight, A Call to Adventure)
4. Caravan (Seek Truth in a World of Friends and Foes)
5. Ray of Sunshine (Fall in Love, Meet Mentor)
6. Wedding Day (Crossing the Threshold)
7. Dig A Hole (Put Down Roots)
8. Spiders in the Window (Blown off course)
9. The River Knows the Route (The path home is shown)
10. Grateful 432 (transformation and the power of gratitude)
11. Wallowa Mountains (happily ever after)
This album, Songbird, is the short version of the story. Their are 5 more songs that I have written that are part of it that did not make this album. All together, the 16 songs make up what I call “The Long Journey” and it follows the story template of what is called the “Heroes Journey”.
This journey starts where it always does. Where all was well with the world. Then calamity and chaos create pandemonium. There is a call to adventure. Then hard times and turmoil must be endured, a Love Story, and a shining moment when everything comes to Light... and all is good again. Almost every American movie follows this template, including all the Star Wars movies.
Their are many misconceptions about birds. One of them is that the owl is wise and all knowing. The truth is that an owls eyes are so big and take up so much space in their skull that their is little room for a brain. Crows, Ravens, and Jays (genus: Corvus) are the smartest birds. They are so smart that they can use tools and problem solve.
Owls might not be that smart, but there is truth in the wisdom of silence and listening. Here is a great little limerick: “A wise old owl lived in an oak. The more he saw the less he spoke. The less he spoke the less he heard. Why can’t we all be more like that bird?”
Birds migrate, build nests, molt, sing, and dress up to find a mate and procreate. Take away the hollow bones, feathers, and the beaks of all sizes and see that we humans are not that much different. I Love Birds. I'll fly away.