Moving to Hawaii is going to be a big change of environment for me. Not only have I spent my whole life in the Northwest, but I have also always lived in the city. Although I do work outside right now, in the University Bookstore’s parking lot, I am in between three of the busiest streets in the University District. The picture above is my view out onto the world at work. I like to think of myself as something of an urban Thoreau, sitting in my parking lot booth all day and watching the urban ecology unfold.
Even though Karyn and I do a lot of hiking, and have explored all over the state, for most of my life the city has been my environment. Of course Seattle is not a concrete jungle – they don’t call it The Emerald City for nothing. I am lucky to live in a place with so many trees, not to mention all sorts of city-dwelling creatures: birds, squirrels, raccoons, etc. But all of these natural features are still situated in a very urban environment. All this spring, I have been watching the birds that live in the trees around the parking lot, mostly song sparrows. When I hear one of them chirping, my first thought is always to look in the trees, because that’s a bird’s “natural” habitat, right? But this is rarely the case. More often than not they choose the man-made parts of the environment to let their songs be heard.
Can you spot the bird in this picture?
It’s that little dark spot on the purple University Bookstore flag.
We won’t be completely cut off, or apart from humanity in Hawaii, but it will certainly be different from the parking lot. I look forward to seeing how the birds and other animals of Hawaii live. Where do they find their perches? And how do they relate to their changing environment?