Many enjoy waking to bird song. Others love birds so much they will take classes and plan trips based on their ability to view unusual species. Some people won’t go to another country, but will go so far as to bring birds inside their home to enjoy their beauty close up. How far will you go?
In his book Birds and Poets (With Other Papers), author John Burroughs stated, “It might almost be said that the birds are all birds of the poets and of no one else, because it is only the poetical temperament that fully responds to them. So true is this, that all the great ornithologists—original namers and biographers of the birds—have been poets in deed if not in word. Audubon is a notable case in point, who, if he had not the tongue or the pen of the poet, certainly had the eye and ear and heart—”the fluid and attaching character”—and the singleness of purpose, the enthusiasm, the unworldliness, the love, that characterize the true and divine race of bards.”
Mr. Burroughs went on, a short couple of paragraphs later, to say, “ The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life,—large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song. The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds,—how many human aspirations are realized in their free, holiday lives, and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!”
To read more of John Burroughs opinions on birds, poets and how they best flock together, you may visit Project Gutenberg online at: www.gutenberg.org/files/5177/5177-h/5177-h.htm.
To learn more of birds, while books are wonderful sources of information, the Oracle State Park is fairly near and teeming with up-close and personal experiences for those who are willing to go just far enough to hear the bird song while rubbing elbows with the many types of bird admirers. Not only will you exercise your brain, but, you will take in lungfuls of fresh air and exercise for your body, as well. November is a great time to start, because, in Pinal County, it really is for the birds! You don’t have to be a published poet to visit them in their natural habitat, either. Simply read on, reserve your spot and show up prepared to find delight for heart and eye.
Mondays in November are dedicated to COVID-Safe Guided Bird Walks, which start at 8:15 a.m. Space is limited to five participants per walk.You must call ahead to make a reservation. Everyone must agree to wear a mask and socially distance on the trail during the entire guided bird walk.
Join volunteer guide, Mary Ellen, at Oracle State Park each Monday morning. Meet at the Kannally Ranch House upper patio. The bird walk is free for AZ State Parks Annual Pass holders, or with park admission of $7 per vehicle. Remaining Bird Walks in November are scheduled on the 23rd and 30th. Call Oracle State Park to make a reservation: (520) 896-2425.
If you want to do more, or different, the on-going daily self-guided tours of the historic Kannally Ranch House might be more what sends you soaring. Visit the park’s Solarium Giftshop, and take a self-guided tour through the multi-level Kannally family home. The Mediterranean-Revival Style ranch house built from 1929-1933, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wearing a mask is mandatory in all state buildings. A maximum of six individuals are allowed to tour the house at one time. Social distancing along with masks – without exception- are required to tour the historic Kannally Ranch House.
Due to the changing of the seasons, Oracle State Park has new hours, beginning Thursday, Oct. 1, when the park will be open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Kannally Ranch House Gift Shop will be open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Mt. Lemmon Road Entrance Gate will close at 4 p.m. and the Exit Gate will be closed and locked at 5 p.m. As always, the American Avenue Trailhead is open daily, sunrise to sunset for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers; and nightly for stargazers. No camping in tent or vehicle, no water is available and no fires are allowed.
In the aforementioned book, Burroughs goes on to recall a poem by a man named Hogg, which seems a fitting ending for writing about birds in Oracle State Park: “Bird of the wilderness, Blithesome and cumberless, Sweet be thy matin o’er moorland and lea! Emblem of happiness, Blest is thy dwelling-place — Oh to abide in the desert with thee!”
Have a lovely visit!