Monday, February 11, 2008

Hey All - We're Going Bird Watching!

(This is not a photo of me or my family. But it gives you the general idea...)

When I was 10 years old, my dad introduced my brothers and I to bird watching. He had been introduced to the pastime himself during a fishing trip with a buddy of his, and apparently thought that, short of hunting, which my mom was highly unlikely to allow, bird watching was just the sort of outdoor activity that would result in frequent, healthy exposure to fresh air – while building character in the process.

Actually, I have no idea if that was the motivation. Maybe it was just an excuse to give my mom a little peace and quiet every now and then. But whatever the reason, bird watch we did, and darned if it wasn’t fun. And don’t let anyone ever tell you that it’s easy, either. You try sitting still, watching a hawk through binoculars, while trying to figure out whether the tail pattern is closer to that of a Red-Tailed Hawk or a Swainson’s Hawk. And I can assure you that yelling “Hey stupid! Turn the other way!” like one of my brothers did once, doesn’t work very well. And sparrows? Give me a break - for one thing, they all look alike; and for another, they never sit still.

Fortunately for posterity but perhaps unfortunately for you, the reader, I still have my Birder’s Life List and Diary, which got off to a roaring start on December 30, 1970. Essentially, it’s a book that lists every bird that can regularly be found in the continental United States, with spaces provided for:


And so soon, a new feature on this blog will begin: a little tour through Jeff’s Birder’s Life List and Diary. Along the way, we may encounter adventure, and we may encounter comedy, but we will almost certainly encounter some of the worst writing you’ve ever read from the pen of a fifth grader. But go on the journey we will.

No comments: