Lo, another fortnight has passed and we have before us a magical new edition of I and the Bird, the blog carnival for the avian inspired. But before I introduce the next truly tremendous presentation, I’d like to offer amends to our gentle host, the pseudonymous Snail of Snail’s Eye View. You see, when Snail last hosted I and the Bird, quite ably I might add, I made rather disparaging comments about the relative merits of snails as compared to birds. Come to think of it, I did the same thing when Aydin of Snail’s Tales hosted too! Now, with mollusks getting roughed up so badly in the recent Invertebrate Battle Royal, I figure my friend Snail may be a bit sensitive these days. Thus, in the spirit of unity and accord, I’ve sought out an organism we can both agree on, a specimen that speaks to all that is great in both snail and bird.

Presenting the Snail Kite

Snail Kite

The Snail Kite is a splendid bird indeed. This raptor may not make it all the way to Australia where Snail herself ranges, but it does make the scene in South America, the Caribbean and even parts of the southeastern U.S. Despite its name, Rostrhamus sociabilis is a bizarre bird-snail hybrid. However, it does possess attributes amenable to advocates of either group:

Birders love the Snail Kite because it’s a raptor and everyone is crazy about raptors. They usually fall under the heading of charismatic megafauna, a term I’m not sure has ever been applied to a mollusk, but that’s neither here nor there. This cool predator flaunts a wickedly hooked bill and plumbeous plumage.

Snailwatchers (not snailers, I assume) love the Snail Kite because it, um, eats snails. Hmm, maybe those who sit on the snail side of the fence aren’t so crazy about a bird that feasts on big, juicy Apple Snails. Well, there’s no accounting for taste, and no, I’m not talking about the kite…

Looks like my efforts to bridge the vast divide between birds and snails have fallen flat once again. Snail herself does a much better job in proving that whatever your taste, wherever you are, we’re all naturalists here. In fact, she speaks to the long, respected history of nature writing in an awesome, Olde English edition of I and the Bird #73.

No matter what brand of nature lover you are, there’s a place for your work in I and the Bird, assuming you’ve written something about birding or wild birds. The next edition of IATB will be hosted by the pride of Colorado, Con Daily. Send your links and summaries to me or Con (con AT condaily DOT com) by April 29 for the May Day 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.