Appearing fleetingly on our visual margins and seemingly oblivious to our presence, they are the closest to the truly wild we may ever encounter. Yet for most of us, they are always present either by sight or earshot.
They are the birds, which combine wondrous aerodynamics with an astonishing diversity of color, form, feather, and function. As a class, they are remarkable accomplishments of evolution and sheer survival -- the only scientifically verified descendents of dinosaurs. Yet they are necessarily light in weight to enable flight: the common American robin weighs in at just three ounces, the hummingbird less than a quarter of an ounce. As an attentive bird observer for 40 years, I look on birds as unbidden gifts, allowing me an intriguing subject for photography.