By Mikaila Gawryn
One of my favorite pastimes is listening to the quails outside my parents house in Nevada. Wind pulls sand across the red rock mountains, and if you're quiet these plump little ground dwellers will tiptoe out from behind the rocks and cacti, bobbing their full plumes as if swimming through the hot air. Their cooing makes the silence around them feel even more dense.
I've recently been reminded of how wonderful it is to recognize a friend's voice over the telephone wire, or know immediately who is approaching by the familiar sound of their footfall on the front porch. It occurs to me that with some practice I might learn to recognize my non-human neighbors with a similar familiarity. I've heard this skill described as environmental literacy, and if that is the correct term, than I'd like to learn how to read.
The few neighbors that I've met so far come from northwest Washington (where I grew up) and Nevada, where my parents live now. I've included pictures and sounds from a few of my favorites for you to enjoy. Who's voices or faces in nature do you love the most?