The results from last Saturday’s nationwide bird count are in. In one day, 163 teams identified 292 different birds across Germany. Our team, “Birdy Num Num” came in at 161st place having counted 36 birds in the wilds of northwest Berlin. The winning team, in someplace called “Cuxhaven” that I think might be made up, claims to have seen 163 birds! Of course, they are lying but whatever. It was just for fun.
Because I don’t know the local birds or really that much about birds at all, my role in the team was just to point to anything in the trees that moved and Mieke and Dennis would instantly identify it. Sometimes, I would point to things that weren’t birds at all, like a sweet little red squirrel we saw leaping in the branches around 7 am. But we couldn’t check it off the list, so we had to move on.
A lot of the birds that we identified have fantastic names. There’s the onamonapiac Zilpzalp and Kuckuck, for example. Then there are the lyrical Nebelkrähe and Wanderfalke, which I would translate as the Cloud Crow and Wandering Falcon, two names I might chose for myself if I were Comanche.
I was also really impressed by the Singdrossel, a little bird that sat on the top of a tree as the sun came up and sang its tiny heart out. Mieke and Dennis were most excited by the Rohrammer, which took some doing to identify because it kept darting about in a field of waving grass. Its little face is covered with extremely black feathers that just soak up the light around it. The Stieglitz is also just an amazing looking bird, as is the Eichelhäher.