Chestnut -Collared Longspur (Draw a Bird Day)

boundless blue, rimmed by
far horizons–an ocean
of windswept grass—wings
rise above the waves,
singing in constellations
of sky-feathered light

My choka envisions the American prairie as it once was–a diverse grassland ecosystem ideally suited to its variable climate, supporting hundreds of species, including migratory ones like monarchs. Less than one percent of the original prairie remains, its deep rooted grasses and wildflowers–as many as 200 different species per acre–replaced by suburban lawns and huge farms that grow only a few different crops, crops that lack the ability to replenish the soil and protect against drought. You only need to read about the Dust Bowl to see the results of destroying the native ecology.

Species that have mostly disappeared from the American prairie include bison, foxes, ferrets, elk, wolves, pumas, grizzly bears, beavers, prairie dogs, numerous insects, and all kinds of birds–prairie birds have suffered greater population losses than any bird group in North America.

The chestnut-collared longspur, like many prairie birds, eats seeds from native plants, and walks or runs along the ground to flush and capture insects to eat as well. It particularly like grasshoppers. Its name comes from the extra-long hind claws which help to navigate the uneven ground. Longspurs spend the summer in the northern prairies of the United States and Canada, and winter in southwest grasslands in the US and Mexico.

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel methodtwomadness is a blog of two friends, Nina and Kerfe kblog is Kerfe's solo branch on the tree

35 responses to “Chestnut -Collared Longspur (Draw a Bird Day)”

  1. Laura Bloomsbury says :

    you’ve drawn so much movement in that flight of the Longspur
    p.s. I’ve read a lot on the dustbowl – especially vivid are Sanora Babb’s books e.g. ‘whose names are unknown’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Colleen M. Chesebro says :

    Kerfe, this drawing of a chestnut-collared longspur is lovely. Your chōka really spoke to me. The prairie has been devasted by farming and cattle ranching. Now climate change will further affect the region.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. merrildsmith says :

    A beautiful poem and your drawings, too.
    More than sad the devastation, and the loss of that “ocean of windswept grass.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake says :

    Beautiful poem and drawings. Sad recounting of irreversible losses. We’ll never see for ourselves that ocean of grass.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. msjadeli says :

    Why we have to muck up paradise remains a mystery. WTF are we thinking to rationalize it’s ok?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Liz Gauffreau says :

    I LOVE your choka! It moves so beautifully. I didn’t realize that agribusiness is engaging in the same farming methods that led to the Dust Bowl.

    Liked by 2 people

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks Liz. The pioneers at least had an excuse–ecology was not a science then, although they could have consulted the native peoples about how to live in harmony with the land–but present day farming that is so unconcerned with the ecological destruction they wreak has no excuse. But of course they are in it for the money, now, the future be damned.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Teagan Riordain Geneviene says :

    Gasp! These are so beautiful. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. murisopsis says :

    Love the drawings!! So many of the birds are ground nesting and even with preservation of the land are in severe decline… feral cats are the primary cause – and that is all due to human irresponsibility!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. melaniereynolds says :

    An excellent post, Kerfe, and I love your drawings!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. robertawrites235681907 says :

    Hi Kerfe, beautiful pictures of birds. You are very talented. I love your poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. equinoxio21 says :

    Nicely done.
    A bird a day?
    I wish I could do a sketch a day… LOL
    (Working on four right now. No birds…)

    Liked by 1 person

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