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Outdoors: Commencement

graduation caps being thrown in the air

The Interlochen Arts Academy commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday.

Academy graduates will leave their academic nest under the stately pines  and go forth into the world.

This time of year, nestling songbirds also will soon be leaving their nests. 

Not all baby birds need a nest. Chicks and ducks and geese, come to mind. They hatch, adorably fluffy, able to feed themselves and ready to scurry.

In contrast, when our songbirds emerge from their eggs, they are helpless and far from fully developed.

The nest is not a bird’s home, but rather a nursery in which nestlings are fed, sheltered, and protected by the parent birds.

And if they are to fly away, like our Academy grads, they need an “arts education.”

Like dancers, they must strengthen their muscles and develop the coordination necessary for flight.

It is important for the perpetuation of a species for the baby birds to learn about color and patterns because when they become adults, they will need to recognize potential mates.

While in the nest, the infant birds memorize the colors and marking of their parents.

When they become adults, they will be attracted only birds to of their own species.

And then, for the young male birds, voice lessons are imperative.

While in the nest, the young males memorize the characteristic breeding songs of their species by listening to their fathers.

They learn the notes and cadence… even the timbre... of the songs that will someday help them attract an appropriate mate. 

For the females, it’s more like music appreciation.

Someday, they will be attracted by the advances of a male bird that looks and sings just like dad.

It’s time for fledgling… Good luck, little birds!

Congratulations Grads! Go forth, remembering that life is a series of préludes.

"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.