Friday, November 5, 2010

A Nightmare Saved Is a Dreambird Earned

...early this morning...

I was contacted by an old friend, and asked if I wanted to go to a party with them.   I said "sure".  We then met a their place and I followed them in my car.  I was unfamiliar with the city, which proved important later. I found the soiree dull for a variety of reasons, but stayed for my friend's sake.  She brought to my attention at one point, many of the people there were former classmates at, and graduates from,  the University of Chicago.  The host was an architect.  I'm not sure what these kinds of details mean, if anything, but they never cease to fascinate me.

The only creative commons image, I could find, on the internet
 that even remotely resembled the exterior of the apartment.  
Unfortunately, the Tudor styling was not in the dream.

The scene jumped, and I have awakened in my friend's apartment.  They were already at work, so I started my day looking for keys and checking on my car. Shortly along my ultimately fruitless car search around their apartment building, I heard a harsh croaking sound above me.  Eyes and attention shifted skyward. A dark bird, sporting a large bill, landed on the pitched roof of the building (a three story, brick, multiplex).  After landing, it hopped along the ridge towards the closest tree limbs that bowed over a section of roof.  At first, I just marveled at how colorful and handsome it was.  After a few seconds, though, it hit me;  that's a toucan!  A Chestnut-mandibled Toucan to be exact.  I'm sure you can imagine the disorientation I was then under.  To complete this tableau, a second croak emanated from deep within the branches nearest the roof.  A few seconds later the second toucan appeared, and remained partially obscured by leaves and branchlets.  They chattered to each other for a few seconds and then flew off together, high and fast, quickly out of view. 

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (Rhamphastos swainsonii)

Fascinating as that exchange was, I still needed answers.  I called my friend... nothing.  I attempted to write down all detail I could remember from the night before.  I didn't come up with much. I called my friend again, and got through.  They told me the name of the street and the party host's name; as a phone number did not come to them at the moment.  I called information in the hopes of a landline phone number.  After trying various permutations, I was politely informed by the man on the other end no such street existed...  (((aarrggh)))

The dream fast forwarded to when my friend was home.  They then drove me again to the location of the previous night's party.  Turned out she had misremembered the name of the building as the street's name.  So, upon arriving I discovered both keys and car were still there.  Perhaps the moral here is to carpool, even in a dream.  Or maybe it's a variation on every cloud having a silver lining:  every nightmare has it's Chestnut-mandibled Toucan.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why I Dream About Birds

Recently a birding friend, Rob Fergus, shared a post entitled "Birding and Being" on his blog.  Rob and I met in Austin, TX about ten years ago, sharing untold hours birding, and talking about birds.  Even without that personal history, though - I get it.  I grok what Rob is writing about.  In the weeks since, I've reflected and meditated on how I would articulate what "birding and being" is like for me...

It is akin to that loss-of-self joy while fully engaged in community (especially spirtual) and family (especially with children).  I'm not sure life gets any better when all three are combined.  When birding, often I'm struck speechless with witnessing.  Miracles giving birth to miracles, moment after moment.  Any self-consciousness, and social graces all but collapse, forgotten.  I "ooo" and "ahh" and point and run and hop up and down, because my soul has been shaken and stirred.  While birding, I am finger-in-the-socket A...L...I...V...E, ALIVE!  In the presence of other birders experience this, my joy is magnified tenfold.  All this may sound exhausting: it isn't.  The prospect of a lifebird, or even the bird you've seen thousands of times (but not doing that, or in that light), sustains to the point that 8, 15, even 24 continuous hours of birding is appealing.  And, I would get up the next morning hungering to do it all over again.  

Swifts and swallows eating on the wing, hunting raptors carving the air, the penguins' paradox of masterful flight - underwater, owls' silent evening reign, the feathered tidal waves that are migration, shores lined with heron statues, the confounding of camouflage, the impossibility of hummingbirds, nuptial diplays of males and females, vocalizations that can haunt for their otherworldly beauty or otherworldly terror, the beyond-the-beyond splendor of all plumages, a "peep" from inside an egg before it has hatched... I could go on, and on, and on... and, undoubtedly, I will.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Scariest. Field Work. Ever.

"Every bird is common somewhere" is a bon mot I heard early in my birding career. Not this next one; not in long, long time.  I recently dreamed about a species that slipped into extinction literally eons ago; the most famous "terror bird" - Gastornis gigantae.  You may be more familiar with the previous genus name:  Diatryma.  Wikipedia is a good beginning reference for these fascinating creatures:

Gastornis gigantae - one of many "terror birds"

If you were wondering why they're called "terror birds"
(... Is that guy wearing a suit?)

Sadly, the dream was fairly short.  The setting was straight out of Jurassic Park; a towering, impenetrable and foreboding tropical forest. I was part of a team, with at least two other people present.  We were surveying what appeared to be Gastornis nests.  They were two foot-high pedestals of hardened mud (with a lip) about two or so feet in diameter.  Each was fairly stuffed with several very large white eggs;  I'd estimate Ostrich-sized.  Needless to say, I was pretty intensely anxious the entire time.   The terse conversation between team members and I was mostly regarding keeping vigilant.  The dream came to a brisk ending when I spotted a putative parent bird appear a few hundred feet away.  With few words we all made a break for safety.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anatomy of a Dream

 Art quilt made for charity by Linda Frost - author of 13 Street Studio blog. 
Check it out.

On a lark, I recently pondered what, if any, new trends could be found in my bird dreams.  All of the more than a hundred from the past six plus years fell into the following four categories.  I've attempted to assign them self-explanatory titles.  They are fleshed out a bit below for further clarification.
  1.  INCIDENTAL - In some dreams, despite a storyline with no direct relation to birds or birding, they still make cameos.  They function merely as background filler and are largely indistinct. It can even be just a wing flutter, seen or heard, or a concatenating flightpath in the distance.  Silhouetted flocks are the most common; sometimes identifiable to Eurasian Starling, Rock Pigeon or mixed blackbirds, etc..  So far, such appearances haven't been more interesting than that.  As far as I know this is the first time I've mentioned these kinds of dreams ...and it may be the last.  I'm just not that interested in every bird-shaped thing I notice zipping through the dreamscape; and I hope it's safe to assume no one else is either.  I could be persuaded to change with enough hue and cry.  Occurance Rate - ~5%.
  2. VAGUE - For lack of a better word, this is when it's impossile to remember little more than a list of species; at best a static image.   Most unfortunate is that they are nearly always creepily washed out, heavily shadowed and at least partially out of focus. Yuck!  While I love any dreambird's presence, salivating at the opportunity to add to the lifelist, dreams of this ilk are ultimately not satisfying.  Despite the discontent over such "duds", I will probably include them from here on; if only in hopes that it helps improve dream recall.  Occurrence Rate - 5-10%  
  3. VIGNETTES - "Shorts" if you will. These are full-on dreams replete with characters and plot; a big jump from the "Vague" category on all levels.  Often I recall them as a series, each with at least fairly distinct story lines.  Due to their short duration, and tendancy for coming in bunches, I am challenged with the recall process. I'm not sure why, but these are by far the most common:  Occurrence Rate - 75-80%.
  4. EPIC -  I've scoured thesauri for a better modifier, but am at a loss. There's no rhapsodic extolling of heroic deeds here. They are over-the-top, though; in scale, length, vividness, complexity and grandeur.  Consistently "magical". Evincing profound spellbound and awe - both during and after.  With these dreams, it is about the "essence and beingness" of birds.  For example, the phenomenon of migration isn't represented as it would be in real life, or in the other dreams. It is an immense river filling the dream sky - birds are sometimes oddly-colored, or even emanating a ethereal aura.  Fans of Jungian analysis, especially, might find enjoyment in them.  "Epics" also include those where the boundary between bird and I blur.  And who doesn't want to know what it's like to be a bird?  Wish I had these far more often than I do.  . Occurance rate - <5%   

Friday, March 26, 2010

A New Way of Engaging Our Dreams

I heard most of this interview today while running errands. I don't have much of an opinion on the efficacy of dramatizing one's dreams. Everything he says about it makes intuitive sense to me, though. However, I do concur whole heartedly with Mr. Lipsky's criticism of status quo dream analysis.  The entire dreaming process has always seemed to me personal and unique for each of us. 

I also couldn't help but imagine what acting out my bird dreams would possibly look like. Oiy! Just when I thought my dreams couldn't get any stranger. I'm sure for the next several months, every time I'm posting about one, this interview will cross my mind.

WAMC: Alan Chartock...In Conversation with Jon Lipsky 2010-03-26

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Mysterious Visitation

A good friend and I were in a cafe, located in the bottom floor of an old multi-story home.  It was quaint; one of those places where everything that could be made of wood was.  A hallway led from the main eating area back to a rear entrance.  Outside the darkly-stained wooden screen door, my friend's black Shi-poo was tethered to a bike rack.  He was whiny, scratched often at the door, and all around not happy with this arrangement. 

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) - male
Image online here

Early in the dream, I kept the pup "Ollie" company.   Play time was ultimately an effort to quiet and calm him down.  In a moment of poor judgement, I defied the rules of the establishment and let him in.  He made a beeline for his "mommy"; jumped upon her lap and showered her with kisses. 

Before I could even take a step toward them, I was distracted by movement and a familiar sound outside.  It was the blur of a very small bird and a high-pitched trill.  I knew immediately the source:  a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird!  He twittered from window, to screen, back to window frantically.  I believed he was trying to get my attention and wanted to tell me something important.
Just then an Austinite friend, and an earth science professor from many years ago, appeared next to me.  The Austin friend agreed the bird was attempting to communicate, while the biologist was not so sure.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) - a more typical view  
Image online here

The noises the hummingbird made clearly sounded like some form of communication; replete with cadences, pauses, inflections and emphases.  I pointed this out to my ex-professor Tim.  Listening for himself, he was speechless at first; but soon agreed we should attempt contact.

I opened the back door wide for the bird.  Sadly, I was not able to discover what all the commotion was for.  At first the hummer continued zipping to and fro. It then hovered within a few feet of my face whereupon it gradually, and steadily, grew.  By the time the dream faded fully, he was larger than my friend's lap dog! 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Southern Vermont Surprise

Though not an image of a Vermont forest, I'm confident many there look like this.
Image online here

I found myself on the back of a motorcycle, with my real-world photographer friend, Eric, driving.  We traveled from western Massachusetts to an old-growth forest near Bennington, in southwestern Vermont.  After much trail riding, and walking, we found our destination: a fairly impressive series of waterfalls.

A good reference for the dreamscape:  the famous Bash Bish Falls in Mt. Washington, MA.

It was early winter, or nearly so.  Brown crunchy leaves blanketed the ground, branches were bare, with no snow to be seen.  Since it was winter, water barely flowed down the cliffs of the falls.  At their base, the streambed widened significantly for several hundred feet downstream.  Nests, most very large, perched among and atop the rocks; even in crevices in the face of the cliff.  They numbered in the dozens at least.

Most nests looked similar to this. 
Image online here

Eric informed me this was a rookery, though obviously not currently in use.  He brought me there, however, because it was a special one.  This was the oldest known to be in continuous use.  According to him, the first European settlers to the area made note of it more than three hundred years ago; although it was probably much older.

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) on cliffside nest; a common locale.

He said several species used the rookery:  Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Raven and even Broad-winged Hawk and other forest hawks.  Clearly this kind of arrangement wouldn't happen in real-life. Upon learning the amazing history of this location I was struck with awe, nearing reverence.  I took in the scene again, slowly scanning the nursery and its abundance of nests.  I unsuccessfully attempted to take it all in; that ineffable something-much-bigger-than-myself feeling of the place. 
Wanton environmental degradation - Yay!...  NOT!

Just then a couple of younger folk roared up the trail on four-wheel ATVs.  For the record, I'm not a fan. I flagged the first rider down, signaling for him to stop.  I emphatically recounted the story Eric had just told me, and asked him to respect this place by giving it a wide berth.  I also asked him to pass this information along to his friends and anyone else he knew who rode through there.  To my surprise he listened to my rant, and agreed to do as asked. 
The dream ended with Eric and I hiking back to the bike and riding south back to the Berkshires.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Trip to the Guads

Going north from Van Horn, TX, this is the view of the Chihuahuan desert.
Image online here

When the dream began, I was in an RV.  Out the window I watched the landscape change as we wove our way up from the desert floor, through Guadalupe Pass, and into Guadalupe Mountain National Park. Unfortunately, I never got to see or interact with the people I'm with on this trip.

View from a rest stop below the Guadalupe Mountains National Park headquarters.  El Capitan peak is in the foreground.
Image online here

As soon as we arrived, we found a trail, and began to explore.  Immediately we were rewarded with birds; most not expected there.  The first two we encountered were a male Northern Cardinal and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Northern Cardinal (Cardualis cardualis) - male in pines
Image online here

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)
Image online here

After a few turns up the trail I encountered a Bluethroat of all things.  And, finally a male Indigo Bunting among the high country pines of west Texas.

Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
Image online here

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)
Image online here

The farther I went the more things got... weird.  After exiting a particularly shaded grove, the trees gave way to a large open space of grass covered with sea creatures.  Yep, you read that right.  Anemonies, sea slugs, jellyfish, groupers, flounders and those freakish deep-sea things practically carpeted the small meadow.  This was a potently vivid dream, and it continued repulsively into this last scene.  On the bright side, at least the rest of the dream was breathtakingly beautiful.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Does it Get Much Better Than This?

I was standing on the back deck of a dark, split-level, shingle-style house.  It overlooked a small clearing in a forest, I'll call the backyard.  The yard sloped noticeably giving the impression I was in mountainous, or at least very hilly, country.   

The forest appeared a northern type; a good mixture of tall hardwoods and conifers.  Leafless branches told me it was probably winter, but I could not see any snow.  An anonymous group of passerines noisily made their way through the bare canopy in the distance.  Suddenly, the still was broken by an adult Cooper's Hawk that wove through the trees and settled on a branch not fifty feet away.

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Image online here

After feeling I'd had enough time with the hawk, I headed to the front yard.  Upon arriving there, I looked up and noticed a Turkey Vulture and Golden Eagle soaring in lazy circles fairly high above.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Image online here

Golden Eagle (Aquila chryseatos) - sub-adult
Image online here

Continuing, I strolled across the expansive front yard toward a line of tall bushes a hundred feet off.  As I arrived, a male House Finch and adult Barn Swallow zipped across my path not far above my head.

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) - male
Image online here

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Image online here

Beyond the bushes was a short slope that led to an orchard.  I investigated.  A few seconds later I began "pishing" and was rewarded with three American Robin showing themselves.  I turned to move on, when something at the top of a nearby tree caught my eye.  The piece-de-resistance: a Varied Thrush.  Niiiiiice!  I noticed a small group of birders a few dozen yards away and motioned for them to head my way.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Image online here

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)
Image online here

Just then my youngest son, Miles, popped into the dream.  I excitedly pointed out the thrush to him, then attempted to explain the significance of the bird.  Poor kid, I was probably over intellectualizing the experience for him.  Clearly the dream locale was far from the Pacific northwest, so this really was a big deal.  Once this dawned on me, I asked one of the other birders to notify their local rare bird hotline, and to call as many folks they knew.  I really enjoy when as many people as possible get to share experiences like this.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Look Who's In the Kitchen

I walked into a very capacious old country kitchen.  The mood cast was quite somber and brooding due to the dark walls, stone hearth and floor.  Pots, pans, trivets, and numerous other cooking implements hung from various places; including the oppressively low ceiling.  Adding to the cluttered charm were sundry quaint decorations, and gew-gaws, on the mantel and in several shelved alcoves.

The dream environs closely resembled this fine rustic kitchen, except the hearth was fieldstone and all wall surfaces were wood or painted brown.

Ostensibly, this was the kitchen of a restaurant, or inn, where I worked.  Dining was over for the night so a co-worker and I were there admiring the aesthetics as we waited for our rides.

As I approached the hearth, something moved on the far end of the mantel.  As soon as my eyes settled on that area, a bird flew to the right and into the shadows of a nearest alcove.  Luckily, I noticed a second bird hunkering down atop an intricate porcelain teacup. Expecting something pedestrian, like a House/English Sparrow, I was stunned to see a crouching Baird's Sparrow staring back at me.  This bird, also wanting no part of being out in the open with us, soon followed the same trajectory as the first.      

Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii)
Image online here

I was about to make my way towards that recess, when my attention was drawn to the mantel once again.  Somehow I missed this the first time; right atop an old pitcher sat a pygmy-sized Indian White-rumped Vulture.  It couldn't have been much more than a foot tall.  But there it was, just hanging out, all creepy vulture-like. 

Indian White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
Image online here

I didn't stay with this guy for very long.  Though I do admire them as I do all birds, and the function they serve, I have no desire to be that close to any vulture any longer than necessary - even in a dream.  It was now time to investigate the nearby niche.

I didn't relocate the sparrows, but I did find was even more interesting.  Upon the middle shelf was an elaborately etched brass serving tray with a two-toned glazed bowl inside.  Hopping around the tray, rather impishly, was a Rainbow Bee-eater.  

Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)
Image online here

A necessary aside: this species has appeared twice before in my dreams!  Fortunately, I was finally able to remember the species upon awakening.  I had not blogged the previous two dreams, because details were just too fuzzy

In addition to this little clown, four tiny toucans sat in the glazed bowl.  By all appearances they were fully grown, not nestlings.  The numbers were split evenly with a pair of Channel-billed Toucan, and Toco Toucan each.  The picture of cuteness, I assure you.  

Channel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) - ssp. culminatus
Image online here

Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco)
Image online here

I slowly moved my right hand closer to pet them.  They responded by gently touching and picking at my fingers with their bills.  It didn't hurt, so I assumed they were being playful.  Very cool!  Sadly, this moment didn't last long,  The dream ended with the friend whom I was waiting for, arrived, and came into the kitchen to announce he was there to pick me up. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Birding's Good in Islamabad

It wasn't anything specific about the initial surroundings, I just intuitively knew I was in Pakistan, in the vicinity of Islamabad...

I started the dream walking toward, then under, a row of tall trees. In doing so, I entered someone's backyard. It was typical suburbia for all I could tell: short green grass, trees and bushes tracing the property line, and two small trees in the middle of the backyard. The creamy-yellow, ranch-style, house even had a wooden porch. The dreamscape said anywhere in America, but my mind said rural southern Asia.

This IS very similar what the row of trees looked like in the dream, but not what northern Pakistan looks like in real life... surprise!

As I approached the dwarf trees in the middle of the yard, I noticed bird activity. The first to catch my attention was drab; brown-and-white. It reminded me of a Sage Thrasher, but a little sleeker with a satiny sheen on the brown upper side. I hadn't been examining it long before a tiny flash in the next tree over caught my eye.  Sitting on a branch in the middle of the tree next to me was a neon-green hummingbird (e.g., Brilliant Emerald).  Hummingbird?!?  I remember thinking that couldn't be right.

Empress Brilliant (Heliodoxa imperatrix)
Image online here

Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus
Image online here

A woman appeared on the porch and asked if I needed help.  Startled and embarrassed, I emphatically apologized for my trespassing.  I told her I was just a birdwatcher, that her yard was impressive with bird life.   She shared she too was a birdwatcher; that the birds were there because she had several well stocked feeders.  What relief!  Graciously, she even welcomed me to stay for as long as I wanted.       

I then asked her, what bird it was that looked so much like a hummer.  She informed me that, indeed, it was a "Citrine Hummingbird" - the only species in the eastern hemisphere.  Nothing about that explanation made much sense.  I didn't have much time to mull it over as we were then joined by a man who seamlessly joined the conversation; clearly a birder very familiar with the local avifauna.

Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma longirostre)
Image online here

He confirmed the hummer's identity.  He also said there was a sister species to the one that looked like a Sage Thrasher; though larger, less common, and retiring.  No sooner did his words come out then he pointed to a bush at the edge of the yard, next to the house.  Speak of the devil, there was one these very birds now, looked much as described!  It strongly resembled a Long-billed Thrasher.

We didn't look at it long before he led me around the front of the house, onto the road and toward the city.  The scenery changed substantially.  We were surrounded by thorn scrub, and near-desert environs.  The road was little more than tire tracks in sand.  The man made a point of telling me to pay particular attention, as there were many birds to be found along this road, but they were difficult to see.  He was quite right on that last point, as I only caught sight of one bird plunging deeper for the rest of the dream.

A good idea of what the road to Islamabad looked like in the dream

What a real road into Islamabad looks like; including a section of the famous Margalla Hills beyond.

The dream ended with our coming upon a bazaar at the edge of civilization. The surroundings were a study in ramshackle and dilapidation; masses of people, clothing, wares and sounds very... well, foreign.   

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nearly Had A Heart Attack

The storyline of the dream was otherwise unsettling, and too personal, to share here.  However, I can relate the part where birds made their appearance...

I had just come to a stop at a "T" intersection, in a car, and was about to take a left to exit a neighborhood onto a main thoroughfare.  With all of the suddenness only they have, a flock of twelve or so birds all but rained down on the road directly in front of the car.  My heart lept into my throat...  I was beginning to curse the winged beasts when starkly spangled napes caught my attention.  Spotted Doves?!?  Dreambirding lifers! 

The setting of the dream was Austin, Texas.  So, I mused about whether these obvious escapees would have a chance at establishing themselves, what with the Eurasian Collared-Dove having arrived so recently.  

Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
Image online here

No sooner had these thoughts crossed my mind when a large, and loud, pickup truck sped by; directly through, and partly over, the dove flock.  Several members went "remige over teakettle" in the truck's turbulent wake.  All seemed physically unharmed, but many hundred a feather were crazily out of place. 

It was then that a single bird, among those whose feathers were woefully ruffled, caught my eye.  Not a dove, and harder to explain as an escapee, the new bird was another dreambirding first for me:  Eurasian Jay.  Huzzah!    

Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Image online here

The avian section of the dream ended with my eyes following those birds, who'd been so rudely inconvenienced, as they seemingly self-consciously ambled into yards across the intersection.  There they began the unglamorous process of making their plumage proper again.  

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hummingbird Delight

I was driving along a small suburban street. A median appeared in the middle of the road, crowded with tall bushes. As I was passing, I decided to slow down to examine for birds. I was not disappointed. Immediately, I espied a small green-backed hummingbird hovering in front of a red-orange tubular flower. I never got any better look than that, as it quickly zipped away, so I'll refrain from speculating on the ID.

A leucistic hummingbird, in all it's pale glory.

The excitement didn't stop there though. While I was straining my eyes, and craning my neck out the driver's side window for the first hummer, along came another. I was startled by a leucistic (mostly white, but not fully albino) hummer zooming towards me. As quickly as it came, it stopped and hovered just a couple of feet away from my face. I stared at it, awestruck. It hung there, like a Christmas ornament. Thankfully, I wasn't on a busy street. Eventually I was able to notice faint bluish purple on the the top side of it's head, along with some gray patches on the back. As far as I could tell this was a Violet-crowned Hummingbird. Neeeeto!

Violet-crowned Hummingbird (Amazilia violiceps)
Image online

I then pulled my head into the car, ready to move on. I was still parked in the middle of the road after all. The ghostly hummer advanced, and grew as it sidled up to my window! The dream faded with the scene of this hummingbird, now the size of a crow, attempting to squeeze into the window as it was closing. A trifle unnerving.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Vulture-led Field Trip

A dead gull, species indeterminant. Now imagine your backyard full of these - yeesh!

This is a dream my brother Jon had a few days ago... It began with him observing a friend, who's in a band, get in to an argument with a member of a different band. The row was regarding who's band is better. The scene then skipped to him overlooking the backyard, from the bathroom (from the second floor of our parents' house). Surprise! Jon then witnessed scads of gulls in the backyard, grounded, on their backs - "taxidermy dead". Upon going downstairs, he noticed the wall to the outside wasn't there. Newspapers were strewn around the yard burning quickly. They all vanished by the time he arrived at ground level.

Upon reaching the stair landing a gigantic, "linebacker-sized", grayish-white vulture swooped down and landed in the backyard. (The closest real-world species, is the Cape Vulture.) It began to peck at the remains of the dead gulls. After scavenging, the vulture stood up and flew away. It flew left, up the gentle slope of the hill they live on, around the neighborhood water tower a few hundred yards away, then to the south out of sight. While the vulture was still visible it appeared to attack more gulls that appeare in the air, alive. After the vulture departed the gulls drifted to circle over the backyard.

Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres)
Image online here

The friend, from the argument, reappeared - with binoculars and ready for birding. Others people are there now too; binos-at-the-ready. My bro' joined them as they walked through the backyard toward the forest beyond. The vulture flew back, and landed close to the birders. The vulture wore khakis - looking more like a person in a vulture suit. He was holding binoculars with human hands. Then he began to lead the field trip, spotting and pointing out birds. "Vulture-man" explained the reason he was eating the gulls was because he, in fact, is a vulture. (pay no attention to vocal ability, hands, and chinos?!?)

The last part of the dream my brother found a tiny bird on the ground. It appeared a nestling, all white and downy. He could not tell if it was alive because it sat so still.


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