|This Eastern Screech-Owl is a celebrity in Newburyport.|
Birding is for old people with funny hats.
The truth is, though, it pushes all my buttons. I love taking pictures. I love to hike and snowshoe. I love being on the hunt. I love doing the reading and studying. And since November, I've been looking for reasons to avoid my Facebook and Twitter feeds, if only to preserve my sanity.
I call it trading Tweets for tweets.
My introduction to birding has been through my backyard feeder, Henry at Wildbirds Unlimited, the great people at Audubon, The Big Year, H is for Hawk, my new Sibley and Peterson, my e-bird alerts, and a bunch of group excursions looking for owls and eagles and hawks (oh my).
And I'm still a complete rookie--which is good for the soul. My life list has 38 birds. They even place me in the front seat of the van when I head off with a group of experienced birders so I "don't miss anything." When I was first to spot an eagle a few weeks ago, I heard one of the charming older ladies in my group whisper, "Beginner's luck." So, I'm starting in right field--but at least I'm in the game.
And, as in every human endeavor, with birding, there is a pecking order. Just like at the office, where there is a clear pecking order. At the gym. At the local diner. At church. My wife plays in bell choirs and, yes, even when nice people are swinging 3/8-inch thick solid Aluminum/Titanium alloy, polished tempered tone chimes, in unison to Bach, there is a pecking order.
|Today's rare bird alert. It's hard |
not to want to drop everything
and go looking.
Here's one recent example.