The Library had an unusual visitor yesterday. One of the plaza pigeons decided to check out the library and for about 45 minutes our circulation and facilities staff struggled to catch the bird. It was quite unusual to see a pigeon walking and flying through the library. That got me to thinking about birds and literatue and words associated with birds. There is “bird brained” and the slang term “birds” for young women. In The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper- Juv. PZ7 .C7878 Dar4 ), James tells his dad that girls have been “birds” from year one and girls have brains like birds (James is probably 12 or 13 so that tells you a little about his perspective on girls.) That book was published in 1973 but these days we might use the term “chick” as in chick-lit– another bird term. I’m sure we could come up with more terms that relate to birds that show how birds have influenced our culture. Last week I had a graduate student im me about a research project for an English or a History course (it could have been either one.) He wanted information about how birds influenced American culture in the 19th century. Our national symbol is the American Bald Eagle, so historically birds have been important to Americans. I referred the student to online primary resource databases such as New York Times Historical, HarpWeek, American Periodicals Series Online, and 19th Century Newspapers to find articles. He could also look at the works of James Audubon by searching Audubon as author and the books about him through a keyword search in GIL on James Audubon.
So what happened to the pigeon? He provided a little excitement during exam week, but was eventually caught and returned to the plaza. One of our circulation staff members commented, “He got a good meal out of that.” Not so bird brained after all! Stay tuned for more posts on animals and the library.