Spark Birds

For a decade, the American Birding Association has been picking a “Bird of the Year.” The group’s website says, “We aren’t seeking the rarest, most endangered, or most sought after species, nor do we seek overexposed ‘greeting card’ birds. We aim to pick species that are charismatic and accessible enough to be spark birds, but that also remain favorites for those who have been into birding for years. On top of that, we want a conservation story to tell.” This year, the ABA held a “Reveal Party” at a brewery in Philadelphia on Sunday the 19th. The pick for 2022: The Burrowing Owl.

I tried to interview the two Burrowing Owls in Cesar Chavez Park about this honor. They concealed their joy and rapture. More exactly, they couldn’t be bothered to wake up from their bird-naps. Later they sent a tweet saying (if I translated owl-speak correctly), “We are not spark birds. Not in rainy weather. We do have a conservation story. Stop destroying our wilderness habitat.”


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