A friend recently reaquainted me with a wonderful poem by Yeats in which was the phrase “Pilgrim soul”. For me this refers to that internal drive or yearning that drives you to seek out that special place, person or idea (or maybe all three are together…) and keeps you on the move until you find it.
What brought it to mind was a male Black-throated Blue Warbler. Right across the road that fronts the resort we’re at in Sant Lucia, there’s a 40 m margin of woods separating the beach/resort area from miles of salt lagoons. One of my favourite hikes is to go through the forest and then out onto the levees bordering the lagoons. This morning the first bird I came across in the woods was this beautiful warbler. Seeing as that they breed in Canada, I began to wonder how it got to this spot. What were the ‘driving’ factors. Was its “Pilgrim soul” just genetics dictating: you will put on this much fat and then you will fly in this direction and when you run out of fat (that has been pre-worked out by your forbears and worked into these genes) you’ll be there? Or did the bird have somewhat more choice in the matter? Or maybe its fat load was worked out to get it to a certain latitude and then there was some wriggle room for final placement…..
Anyway, (I never know what’s going to jump into my head)….maybe the bottom line is that sometimes, after a long search, you just know. And leave the why’s and wherefor’s up to the avian physiologists (or psychiatrists).