Northern Hawk Owl -- Surnia ulula, visiting a favored bog region in MN ( http://www.saxzim.org) with a poem by John Beer:
'Now the passenger pigeons flock across the sky,
Plunging the Central Valley grasshopper into darkness
As the Snake River sucker pushes upstream
And the golden toad relaxes. A passing skiff
Startles a lone gravenche in Switzerland,
Just as a pair of blue pike swerve
To avoid an anchor. The harelip sucker
Stays on course. A phantom shiner
Might have swerved to snap up a three-tooth caddisfly,
Or even Blackburn’s weevil, but it’s hard to tell
Why the white-winged sandpiper wheels
At the distant warble of a black-footed parakeet.
Gould’s emerald has a tiny, ferocious heart.
Domed Mauritius tortoises are clannish,
Often clashing with saddle-backed Mauritius tortoises,
Even though the saddle-backed Rodrigues tortoise
Enjoys friendly relations with the domed Rodrigues tortoise.
The Santa Fe Island tortoise keeps to itself, brooding
Over its sufferings. The Japanese wolf sniffs the air.
The Tasmanian wolf bursts into a sprint,
The Arabian ostrich could outpace a sprinting bicyclist,
And the legs of the sprinting red gazelle blur beneath it,
Like the rapidly beating wings of the Kosrae crake.
The Kosrae starling is nesting. In one tree
The Cascade funnel-web spider lays a trap,
While in another, the American chestnut moth
Sleeps fitfully. The dodo is too trusting.
The laughing owl can be heard across the island.
The roar of the Caspian tiger resounds in a canyon.
Children shudder at the sound of the Bombay lion.
But not even the Caribbean monk seal
Hears the Caribbean monk seal mite silently make
Its home in the manner of the passenger pigeon mite,
Burrowing into the ear canal.
The warm river water
Through which the Durango shiner darts
Reflects a spectacled cormorant. On drafts of air
A dusky seaside sparrow rises. Its shadow falls
On a school of stumptooth minnows. The sunlight
Barely filters down to a Bodensee-kilch,
But a red-headed green macaw glimmers.
The Kona grosbeak filches fruit from volcanoes
Sloping down to the shore where Galápagos damsels
Frolic and spawn. The bezoule makes a rare
Appearance. Heath hens gather by the pond.
Only when the North Island giant moa starts to wonder
About what happened to the South Island giant moa
Does the upland moa give any thought
To the whereabouts of the eastern moa. Meanwhile,
The coastal moa seems to have gone off
After the heavy-footed moa, which follows
In its turn the tracks of the crested moa,
Wandering the islands looking for Mantell’s moa.
None of them have seen a bush moa in a while.
Even as the quagga poses for its photograph,
The St. Croix racer is slithering out of the frame
In eager pursuit of a big-eared hopping mouse.
This may be the moment the Queen of Sheba’s gazelle
Takes its leave, along with the Atlas bear,
The Palestinian painted frog, and several others.
The aurochs left long ago. The lapping waves
Echo the strokes of the sea mink, but like
The Japanese river otter, it’s nowhere
To be seen. What will the confused moth do?
The same as Darwin’s rice rat. Years go by,
And the Martinique macaw flies through none of them.
Melville might have encountered a Nuka Hiva monarch,
But Nabokov never pinned a Xerces blue.
Cloned, the Pyrenean ibex lived
A few seconds more. The paradise parrot
Sported the spectrum on its plumage. Bluebucks
Only looked blue while alive. The Miller’s rail
Survives in a painting. Labrador ducks ate mussels.
The crescent nail-tail wallaby once was common.
The thylacine appeared four million years ago.
Rats killed off the mysterious starling.' ~ "By and By" by John Beer, 2015.