Beauty In The Eye Of The Birder


Jonathan Franzen talks about how his passion for bird-watching has changed him:

Do you find that you look at landscapes differently now?

My whole conception of what is beautiful has changed because I’ve come to love birds so much. I respond to landscapes that have birds in them, that are friendly to birds. A dismal swamp behind a rail yard now has a kind of beauty for me that a bird-free beach in the Mediterranean doesn’t.

Love changes your idea of beauty inevitably. When you love a person, you are not thinking in terms of magazine beauty or newscaster good looks. A deeper kind of beauty comes into play. That is very much what happens when you begin to pay attention to birds and you begin to love them.

Franzen’s new piece on songbirds in Egypt is here.

(Photo of a Little Ringed Plover by Ferran Pestaña)