“Bird species count plummets” (James Tipton)



………………..Christmas morning
………………..the old cat
………………..waits by the bird feeder





“Christmas bird count Sunday” (Teton Valley News)

“Popular prairie songbird joins endangered list” (Vancouver Sun)

“Bird species count plummets” (San Francisco Examiner)


This poem was submitted by James Tipton (see poet biographies). Read more James Tipton on Haiku News.




  1. Ikiru

    A beautiful and strangely sad haiku, James. There have been a few poems here on Haiku News that have dealt with environmental topics and they are particularly striking to me in the context of haiku, which is focssed on the seasons and nature.

    With all the changes to the various ecosystems around the world, will many haiku of the past make sense to readers? Will traditional haiku that will be written in the future have to re-arrange and even eliminate some of the season words?

    What makes me sad about this is not merely about aesthetics, but rather that it is indicative of humanity’s lack of concern and sense of responsibility for the planet they live on. The frailty of the haiku and the possibility of suffering its own climate change is a reflection of the climate change that is rippling through the the world itself.


  2. Kath Abela Wislon

    There is a “waiting” as you say… between the years feeling to this, which I love. I have to share also, that every time I read that headline… I imagine the “plummet” as a kind of bird… i just love thinking of that,mit makes me smile!

  3. Laryalee

    I feel this one strongly, James…I love my neighborhood birds, and some of us have noticed a decline in the numbers. This haiku says a lot!

  4. zofia

    this is for Jim’s Bird species count plummets:
    I find Jim’s poem (all apart from the headline) very zen, very simple. The cat being a cat. The lines create a layered feeling of stillness, of waiting, of concentrated focus.

  5. James Tipton

    Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments.

    I used to stand at the kitchen window in winter when I lived in the mountains of western Colorado and watch that old cat waiting so patiently below the bird feeder to–exercising his cat nature–pounce upon the unsuspecting.

    One Christmas I went out and filled the feeder trays and spread lots of extra seed on the ground, a Christmas gift, I thought, for the birds–sometimes over a hundred. My cat, who had not yet received his special Christmas meal, was, by the time I trudged back to the house, already waiting at the bird feeder.

    He was a sweet old cat named Gosi, and I loved him.

    Jim Tipton

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