I was born in a house next to my grandfather’s chicken farm in Mattituck, across the bay. White leghorn chickens may have been the first bird species I opened my eyes to, the first bird species I came to know intimately. Before someone coined the term “free-range chickens” in the late 1900s, that’s what they were, free-range. They ran freely over the expanse of old fields and gardens surrounding my boyhood area, feeding and carrying on as chickens left to their own devices do. At night they either roosted on tree branches or in chicken coops on rails.