Dateline Cincinatti: April 30, 2005
With all the excitement about the Ivorybill Woodpecker sightings, I know the world may not be ready for this, coming so soon on the heels of that announcement but here it is:
I'm in Washington, D.C. On the way here I was routed through Cincinatti, Ohio. Anybody who has ever been in the Delta Connections Terminal knows that "Terminal" is a well chosen and apt describer for the experience. Feedlot cows have it better. I caught the shuttle out of there and decided to kill time at the Starbucks in B Concourse. Sitting there with a tall Americano...That is a coffee drink, people! Mind out of the gutter. I realize the shots of George Bush holding hands with a short Saudi has everybody wondering but hey, leave me out of it, OK?...So I'm drinking coffee and reading Scientific American in B Concourse in Cincinatti. They seem to think air terminals must have forty to fifty foot ceilings and this one does. No reason I can think of except to make you think you are outside or not cooped up, and they put in some little ficus benjamina trees and pump some water over some sort of fake waterfall and load it up with chemicals to keep it from turning green but it still reeks like somebody needs to shock the hot tub, and this is supposed to make you feel better about paying seven dollars for a $2.95 salad with wilted lettuce and a tube of salad dressing.
So I'm sitting there inside the Cincinatti B Concourse sipping my coffee and something walks over my foot. I can feel it but I can't see it and I'm thinking I'm inside a building and a rat just ran over my foot and I look down. This is where I have a "sighting" to report. There beside my right shoe is a House sparrow, nicely colored in various earth tones, eating crumbs and ignoring all the people. Several folks looked at the bird and looked at me and looked at the bird. The bird looked at nothing except the next piece of bread or muffin or whatever it was lying on the floor. As it finished the crumb it was beaking (they don't have teeth..."beaking" either is or should be a word, I say), it hopped a foot or so and picked up another one. My head was maybe three and a half feet above it. The sparrow didn't care. It was making a living inside B concourse and doing all right, for an invasive species.
I wondered if the bird goes in and out of the building but I think it probably just lives inside, all the time.
I felt happy about the sparrow and watched until it hopped out of sight under the heating and airconditioning unit next to the glass wall that keeps the world out of the airport. I wonder how long that bird has lived inside? Is it the only one? Oddly, I wish it well and hope it finds a girl friend inside the airport. That's probably a bad idea but what the heck.
I would probably shoot this sparrow if it were taking over the bluebird house I nailed up back in Tennessee, but as a denizen of B Concourse in Cincinatti...may it have a long life and prosper!