You can’t separate the bird from the tree. Well, actually, you can particularly if you’re chasing alcids or swans. Obviously, not every bird lives in a tree. Trees and birds, however, go quite well together. One might say that certain trees and birds seem like they were almost made for each other, except there’s no “almost” about it. This is the season when eager bird watchers crane their necks to the skies, eagerly gleaning the canopy for signs of songbirds. If you’re lucky, you’ve had the opportunity these past precious weeks to raise your eyes in contemplation of the mysteries of migration. When you did, you weren’t just looking at birds. You were looking at trees and vines, clouds and sun, and most likely a lot of squirrels. John Muir observed that when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. In other words, you can’t separate the bird from the tree.

These disjointed ramblings stem from more than just the kink in my neck. The host of this fortnight’s I and the Bird happens to also be the co-founder of the Festival of the Trees, the blog carnival devoted to all things arboreal. When I think of Dave Bonta of Via Negativa fame, trees come to mind, as does an overarching theory of naturalism. Birders contend so often with issues of biology, taxonomy, and even botany that pursuit of this interest often devolves into a crash course in amateur ornithology. But the passion for watching birds or butterflies or trees comes from a deeper place than mere academic inquiry. To be a naturalist, one must possess the senses of a scientist and the soul of a poet. Dave is clearly gifted with both, as evidenced by his epic saga, I and the Bird #49 – the Wordchaser.

We’ve met a lot of fine naturalists over the last 49 issues of I and the Bird. With hope, at least 50 of you will contribute your bird blogging best to the next edition, our 50th! Our next brilliant host is a man whose passion for blog carnivals surpasses even mine, Bora of A Blog Around the Clock. Send your links to me or Bora (Coturnix AT gmail DOT com) by May 29 for inclusion in the golden May 31 edition.

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.