By Ogden Nash

Bird watchers top my honors list.
I aimed to be one, but I missed.

Since I’m both myopic and astigmatic,

My aim turned out to be erratic,

And I, bespectacled and binocular,

Exposed myself to comment jocular.

We don’t need too much birdlore, do we,

To tell a flamingo from a towhee;

Yet I cannot, and never will,

Unless the silly birds stand still. 

And there’s no enlightenment in a tour

Of ornithological literature.

Is yon strange creature a common chickadee,

Or a migrant alouette from Picardy?

You can rush to consult your Nature guide

And inspect the gallery inside,

But a bird in the open never looks

Like its picture in the birdie books –
Or if it once did, it has changed its plumage,

And plunges you back into ignorant gloomage.

That is why I sit here growing old by inches,

Watching a clock instead of finches,

But I sometimes visualize in my gin

The Audubon that I audubin.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frederic Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was an American poet known for his light verse.  The New York Times said his “droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry.” Ogden Nash wrote over 500 pieces of comic verse. The best of his work was published in 14 volumes between 1931 and 1972. (Read more about Ogden Nash at

Photo: “Panama Bird Through Binoculars” by Landlockedlis, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED