Pictures by GRAYSC
Person observing a bird in a tree extracts the telescope from the inner
pocket of their jacket, picks up their notebook, focuses and notes something
The plumage: feather coverage on the body in red; wing feathering in dark
blue; flight feathers in tail’s upper area green in lower part gradually turning
blue. Feather coverage on the head in fuchsia, with one red-orange spot on
the throat and one long, bright lilac stripe from the facial bristles down to
the back. Chest and belly yellow.
Weight and size the person guesses. They can neither shoot it, help themselves
to its dead body, in order then to measure, weigh, document it, to examine
its stomach contents, to dissect its plumage and label the individual
parts, to sever its head, remove all fat and muscle, to let it dry and hang it on
a wire frame, discussing the piece with colleagues at the society, afterwards
leaving it in a drawer; nor could they catch, ring and fit it with a transmitter,
and thus by observing on a monitor, track the motions of its migratory
circuit from pole to pole, port to port, Shanghai, Rostock, Amsterdam and
all the way back to the ice.
The tree in which the bird is sitting is one colour. Trunk, branch, leaf:
almost like an ink drawing. From the branch on which the bird is sitting
sprout off smaller branches, which themselves branch off into twigs. The
tree holds many branches and even more leaves. With the telescope, the
person now scans the tree from its roots over the trunk up to its canopy. The
person sketches the contours in their notebook. As precise as possible, not
by hand. Sectioning, labelling, numbering.
The bird in the tree looks back.
The little black dots that form its eyes are now pointed directly at the person.
Its beak contorts itself. Is that a little smile, or even a laugh? And
suddenly its cry rings out in their ears; nothing in common with four-andtwenty
blackbirds, Little Robin Redbreast or one little blue bird. A clear
‘Ha-ha-ha’ goes through the foliage and the person realises it’s not them, but
rather the bird who has burst into laughter.