Kim Barney


Flying Backwards - Poem by Kim Barney

If you are ever
on a TV quiz game show
and they should ask you

What's the only bird
in this whole wonderful world
that can fly backwards

Be sure to answer
with all of your conviction
It's the hummingbird

That's the right answer
at least it's the one they want
but it's just not true

Topic(s) of this poem: bird, birds, life, nature

Form: Haiku


Poet's Notes about The Poem

It's true that hummingbirds can fly backwards, but they are NOT the only ones. They may be (and probably are) the only birds that can hover for long periods of time, however.
I have had bird feeders in my yard for years and have observed many birds flying backwards for short distances as they jockey for position on the feeders.
The first ones I noticed were goldfinches, but I have also seen black-capped chickadees do it, as well as dark-eyed juncos, house finches, purple finches and even common house sparrows (what we used to call English sparrows when I was a kid) .
I suspect that all small birds can do it to some degree.

Written 25 November 2015 in Annabella, Utah, USA.

poet's note updated 30 May 2016 (poem itself not changed)

Comments about Flying Backwards by Kim Barney

  • Daniel Brick (12/6/2015 9:20:00 PM)


    My seventh in a succession of canaries died last Sept. I wonder if one or more of them could fly backwards but couldn't try because the cage was not geared for it. It's provocative to think of possibilities lost due to domestication.
    Then again there are compensations: Mozart scored his canary's song into his 27th and last piano concerto. BTW I think there is a poem latent in your prose comment: you can call it The Watcher and describe you patience in observing wild birds' flight pattern and SUDDENLY become aware of the birds WATCHING YOUR BEHAVIOR! !
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  • Valsa George (12/5/2015 3:08:00 AM)


    It so interesting to watch birds..... Happy to know that you too are a bird lover! As a child I had such a fascination for birds that I used to wander through the woods looking for the birds and their nests! Even now they delight me. I used to keep love birds and finches at home. Now as I have to keep away from home very often, I have stopped keeping birds. If we set up bird feeders, the entire feed will be eaten away by crows or squirrels as we have them here in plenty. It is a new knowledge for me that birds can fly backwards! Lovely observations! (Report) Reply

  • Mihaela Pirjol (12/3/2015 4:23:00 AM)


    A lovely and interesting write...I love birds, especially doves! (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Kurt (11/30/2015 1:59:00 PM)


    I suppose it depends on their definition of flying. Fun poem, Kim. Thanks (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (11/30/2015 11:51:00 AM)


    It appears to me as if it is a small part of the recording of a quiz show. Last line of the poem brings an anti-climax. Poet's Notes are an icing on the cake. Graphic is eye catching. Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Spock The Vegan (11/30/2015 11:06:00 AM)


    Nice poem, and beautiful picture. TFS (Report) Reply

  • Shakil Ahmed (11/30/2015 10:51:00 AM)


    a lovely poem on bird, thanks for sharing (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Monday, November 30, 2015

Poem Edited: Monday, May 30, 2016


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