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Emily Graslie reads a poem by Chard deNiord, "Confession of a Bird Watcher".

Emily Graslie:

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Hi, I'm Emily Graslie.  I'm Chief Curiosity Correspondent for the Field Museum and I'm the host of The Brain Scoop, an educational YouTube channel.  So I picked this poem "Confession of a Bird Watcher" by Chard deNiord because I am also a bird watcher.  I have bird feeders all over my yard and I think that this poem really got to like, a deeper complexity of why I have bird feeders, and like, why I really want to covet nature and have nature be around me, especially when, on occasion, unfortunately, a bird might fly and smack into a window, even though there are like, ways that you can prevent that from happening, sometimes it still does happen and so there's this guilt that comes with this activity and this hobby, feeling like you are curating nature around you but also seeing how that deliberate curation can sometimes have negative outcomes and so I thought that this poem really got to that, that complexity.

"Confession of a Bird Watcher"

The windows are dressed in feathers where the birds have flown against
then fallen below into the flowers where their bodies lie grounded, still,
slowly disappearing each day until all that is left are their narrow,
   prehensile bones.
I have sat at my window now for years and watched a hundred birds
mistake the glass for air and break their necks, wondering what to do,
how else to live among them and keep my view.
Not to mention the sight of them at the feeder in the morning,
especially the cardinal in the snow.
What sign to post on the sill that says, "Warning, large glass window.
Fatal if struck.  Fly around or above but not away.
There are seeds in the feeder and water in the bath.
I need you, which is to say, I'm sorry for my genius as the creature inside
who attracts you with seeds and watches you die against the window
I've built with the knowledge of its danger to you.
With a heart that rejects its reasons in favor of keeping what it wants:
the sight of you, the sight of you.