Birding Haiku

Haiku is an ancient form of short Japanese poetry.  It usually consists of 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, although more modern examples have become less stringent with this rule.  Despite their short length, they leave the reader with distinct impression or mental image.  Consider this example by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), considered the master of the form.

old pond…

a frog leaps in

water’s sound.

With fear of corrupting a beautiful art form, I offer these birding haiku.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl mournfully calls,

“Who cooks for you, cooks for you?”

I reply, “my love”.

Brown Pelican

The Brown Pelican

His pouch is bulging with fish.

How the helican?

(apologies to D.L. Merritt)


Osprey flies above.

Unsuspecting fish below,

Beware the talons!

American Robin

The Robin Red Breast

On the lawn, upright and still,

Hunts worms for the young.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Woodpecker attacks

My aluminum gutter.

Make him stop now.  Please!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Trumpet vines in bloom.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Savors the nectar.

Carolina Wren

The loud hidden call,

Somewhere in the dense willow,

Carolina Wren.

Great Blue Heron

Tall Great Blue Heron,

Patiently fishing in the

Still waters.  No luck.

Here’s the appeal of birding.  You can pursue the science of ornithology, bird structure, evolution, physiology, or behavior.  You can study migration patterns, climate change effects, habitat loss and gains.  You can collect data and lists and contribute to the science, or just observe the beauty at the backyard feeder.  You can combine birding with travel, traipsing through the best scenery the world has to offer.  You can draw, photograph, or just feast your eyes on the beautiful avian fauna.  You can play with gadgets, scopes, binoculars, cameras, and lenses.  You can read the vast birding literature, both fiction and non.  You can even write your own bird haiku and publish it on the internet to decidedly and understandably mixed reviews.

Feel free to add your creations to the “comments” section.

7 thoughts on “Birding Haiku

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