Sunday, May 15, 2011

Little Yellow Bird

(Goodbye) Little Yellow Bird
We were walking around Tiedeman's Pond in Middleton, just outside the Madison city limits, when we passed this little yellow bird. I quickly raised the camera and clicked off a few shots before it flew away. I didn't know what it was, exactly, so I posted the picture on the Flickr Bird Identification Help Group, and in a little while a Flickr member with a user name of Psophodes gave me my answer.
This is a male Baltimore Oriole, still coming into its adult plumage. In its adult plumage in proper light, the birds will be bright orange.
Thanks you, Psophodes! It's great how the internet makes possible this sort of information sharing.

When I see a little yellow bird, I'm often reminded of the song "Goodbye Little Yellow Bird." The old British music hall number was memorably performed by the young Angela Lansbury as Sybil Vane in the 1945 film "The Picture of Dorian Gray," a movie that's both over the top and an oddly moving adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic (a black and white film that uses color only to reveal the ghastly way Dorian's picture aged while he stayed ever young). The film's portrayal of late Victorian decadence now seems as dated and old-fashioned as Dorian's world was when the film was made.

Here are a couple of video links: Lansbury performed the song in the movie with a touching sweetness that characterized her entire portrayal of Sibyl Vane, which led to her second nomination in two years for Best Supporting Actress (the year before she was nominated for "Gaslight.") Forty years later, Forty years later, Lansbury performed the song again on a famous episode of "Murder She Wrote"in which she played two different roles.

Poignant and evocative on so many levels.