Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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Male house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus,
in a hawthorne tree in Central Park, near the Metropolitan Musum of Art.

Image: Bob Levy, author of Club George. [larger size].


The photogrpaher writes: For a few weeks I have consistently found a small flock of House Finches near the playground adjacent to the southeastern edge of the Metropolitan Museum of Art between East 80th and 79th streets close to Fifth Avenue. The playground has a decorative entrance known as the Levy Gate upon which a prominent but tasteful plaque identifies the generous donor. Who is this apparently well-heeled Levy? Well friends it surely wasn’t me or, as far as I know, any of my relatives. It’s a nice coincidence that I share the same last name but I would much rather have the bucks it cost to put the gate there. Sigh.

Oops. Please forgive that self-pitying digression and let me return to the brief and none too surprising but true back-story about this image.

This particular group of finches has always perched too high for me to get a close-up shot of them but on this occasion the birds had conveniently congregated in a Hawthorn Tree along the edge of the path where I habitually enter Central Park. Historically I have found House Finches to be skittish and difficult to approach but in this instance you might say I got a fortuitous vegetative assist from Nature. Ok, you probably would not put it that way but I did because once again it was the allure of ripe Hawthorn berries that induced a bird to linger long enough for me to snap its picture. So I enthusiastically say “Thank you male House Finch” and “Thank you Hawthorn Tree.” I might add, “Thank you Hawthorn Berry at least in your predigested form” but on second thought maybe I won’t.