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For the Birds 

It's a pleasure to see poetry, especially about birds, published in the North Coast Journal ("Foot of Del Norte Street," Feb. 5). However, the "grackles" in the poem are undoubtedly Brewer's Blackbirds, as grackles have been sighted in Humboldt but a handful of times and "readle-cak" is a valid translation of the blackbird's call. 

We birders are a particular lot ("peculiar," some might opine) about matters relating to avian accuracy. For some birders, the compulsion for correctness is such that they keep a list of biogeographic anomalies, such as the maniacal call of an Australian Laughing Kookaburra being heard in the soundtrack of a movie that takes place in southern California. A more in-depth exploration of "Ecological Literacy and Why It Matters" can be found in my November 2008 column at

I can't help but add that we birders (who are fans of the fastest-growing outdoor sport in America) cringe when seeing otherwise well-intentioned articles with the headline "For the Birds." The phrase is both derogatory and unimaginative. Skilled writers can do better!

— Tom Leskiw, Eureka

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