In the quartet of classical elements – earth, air, fire, and water – one would think Class Aves would be easy to classify. After all, birds seem to own the air in a way that few other organisms can match. Many species of birds, however, are aligned with other elements. Penguins may be the first birds that come to mind when one thinks of water, but countless ducks, cormorants, loons, and grebes also thrive at that thin zone where water meets air. The element of earth is anathema to birds like swifts and seafaring tubenoses, but flightless species from ostriches to kiwis are decidedly, magnificently terrestrial. Fire, of course, is too harsh a medium to sustain life, but some birds at least channel the colors of flame.

Today, a periodic table of elements, currently 117 and counting, has taken the place of the original four, but some people still feel drawn to the more abstract elements. Earth, fire, wind, and water.. these are the essential components of the natural world. Like a bird, Tai Haku is aligned primarily with those elements that don’t induce combustion. The name of his splendid blog, Earth, Wind & Water suggests that he doesn’t play favorites, but one look at his spectacular aquatic photography will reveal the ecosystem in which he’s most at home. Today, though, he’s come ashore long enough to host a fantastic film forum for I and the Bird #43.

Are you in your element blogging about wild birds or birding? Wondering how you can share your best work with others? Elementary, my dear Watson. Send a link to your favorite post along with a brief summary to me or our next host, The Ridger (kmdavisus AT yahoo dot com) from The Greenbelt. The next I and the Bird will be presented on March 8, so get your submissions in by Tuesday, March 6.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.