William L. Dawson was an unparalleled wordsmith when it came to birds. Many have sung songs of adulation and worship for him…I say we are right to do so. If I had the power, I would see him rise from the dead to go birding with me all the time, simply for company and to give a running narration of the birds we see. It would be a deeply enriching experience. Who else could conjure up such a passage for the humble Say’s Phoebe?

A GENTLE MELANCHOLY possesses the soul of all Pewees, and Sayornis sayus is the most desponding of the lot. It is impossible to guess what ancestral hardship could have stamped itself so indelibly upon any creature with wings. Perhaps the bird is haunted by the memory of that northern Eden once obliterated by the ice-sheet. Perhaps alkaline waters are bad for little livers. I do not know. Your guess is as good as mine. Choooory kuteew. This “choory” note, heard on a gray day in December, puts one in the same mental attitude as that induced by the modest mewing of a cat. I want to stop and stroke its head, and say in sympathetic falsetto, “Poor little kittens!”

– William L. Dawson

Written by Felonious Jive
The Great Ornithologist Felonious Jive is indisputably the world’s greatest birder. As a child, Felonious was involved in a tragic accident that left him blind and crippled. Miraculously, he began regaining his faculties while parked at a window that faced his family’s bird feeder. Following his full recovery, he continued his pursuit of birds past his family’s yard and out across the globe. Now, his identification skills are unmatched by anyone living, dead, or unborn. Although considered a living deity in the birding community, his avian abilities have made him critical of his comparatively inexperienced peers. This has won him no popularity contests, although he remains much sought-after by birdwatchers of the opposite sex. His close colleague Seagull Steve writes of his exploits at Bourbon, Bastards and Birds.