This poem illustrates the umwelt (sensory or perceptual world of an animal) of the oilbird. The oilbird is a cute bird with an owl-like face. It lives in caves and uses echolocation for social interactions and to see in the dark.



Static pulses during

A sweet, feather-fluffed sleep;

On a ledge in my cave,

So dark and deep.

My friend, the night promises

Fruit laurels aren’t far away.


Flap, flap

Fwip, wink.

Through the mountain’s halls I twist

In an echo-driven, aerial ballet.

Insects and leaves murmur, but it’s

Through echoes that we meet.

It’s through sharp echoes that we meet.

See the innocent fruit, but wait.

Troll these branches cautiously,

As we observe our prey.

Air lets me hover as I tear at the flesh

Of the tree’s bounty.

Bitter is the fruit, but it’s a prize to me!

– Krystal Smith