There’s this word, zugunruhe. It’s a beautiful word for an evocative sentiment, migratory restlessness, and it looks like dozens of Common Nighthawks streaming north, across Lake Superior, into the gloaming. It sounds like the wild cries from huge Whimbrel flocks that race towards the tundra in late May. It feels, I imagine, about like I do most of the time.
I’m Alison Vilag. There’s a good chance that I showed you your first Kirtland’s Warbler in Michigan’s jack pine barrens, drove you around Priblovian Alaska in a derelict 12-passenger van, or that we’ve hunkered down together on the lee side of Whitefish Point Bird Observatory’s waterbird shack during peak migration. Perhaps, you have enjoyed my contributions to Jack Pine Warbler, my social media posts, or the online and in-person presentations I create for bird clubs. I’m equally passionate about birds and their stories–and I’m driven to share those stories with you. I have a B.A. in environmental writing and media; my most recent position was as Whitefish Point’s Outreach Coordinator.
The regular appreciation for my voice and the content I produce has compelled me to create more, and to create more consistently. For some time now, I’ve had an idea I can’t shake: to devote the better part of a year to traveling the U.S., winnowing out the most poignant stories of birds, their conservation, and their stakeholders, and piecing these into a book. Many political and pandemic implications that undoubtedly will persist into 2021 are confounding to birds and humans alike; the lens presented for such a project is too powerful for me to pass up. So I’m letting my own migratory restlessness chart the course for this next chapter. Zugunruhe, inside and out.