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Posts Tagged ‘birding’

Birds of a Feather

Peach-faced lovebird

Once, on a college trip to Costa Rica, I encountered an older couple flying to the tropics to bird. They were decked out in camouflauging colors and vests with more pockets than I could ever imagine a use for. Around their necks were cameras, binoculars, and the strings attached to wide brim straw hats that sat squarely on their backs as we waited for our luggage to appear. To complete the uniform, in the fashion (or lack thereof) of a flashing siren that screams, I am an American tourist!, they wore bermuda shorts, shiny new sneakers, and white tube socks pulled to mid-calf. (Wouldn’t the birds see them coming from a mile away?)

I observed them, at the time, with a mild edge of mockery (okay, I was 21, so it might have been more than mild). Their over-eager attire wreaked of geek to me, and their mission, “birding,” seemed laughable if not downright ridiculous. Who goes on vacation to look for birds?

My roommate and I were headed for adventures in the rainforest and hours of lounging on the beach. These two imbeciles would spend their time in tropical paradise sitting motionless in a blind, binoculars glued to their faces, waiting for hours for the elusive quetzal to fly by when they could be sipping mai tais by the water. Idiots!

Skip ahead ten years and you will see me going out onto the porch or taking walks up the hill not for a breath of fresh air…but to see the birds! D’oh! Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m becoming a birder. And it’s clear that I’ve married one.

The tiny burg of Drytown seems to be a sanctuary for birds. There are certainly more of them than there are of us. The sign into town should read POP. 200, BIRDS 2000 (the first number being a wishful miscount and the second most likely a gross underestimation). We have all the usual cast of characters here — blackbirds, crows, magpies, sparrows, blue jays (though not the kind I was used to seeing on the East Coast) — and then a whole slew of new and unusual (to me) ones.

On a steamy afternoon last week, Bastien crept and slunk stealthily around our yard and over the neighbor’s fence to capture of few of these beautiful winged creatures. Here’s what he saw:

White-tailed kite

Nuttall's woodpecker

Anna's hummingbird pair

Peach-faced lovebird

Turns out birding’s not for the birds after all!

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