I and the Bird #86: Tell me about your mother…
I’m nuts doc, nuts. I’m in the middle of this Big Year thing? It’s driving me crazy, there’s always just one more bird, just one hour farther. And to top it all off? I agreed to do this I and the Bird thing again! Why do I do this to myself?
Zat’s all veery eenteresting…. And why do you zink all zees ees?
I dunno. You’re the doctor here, man. Could it be a subconscious desire to please? A latent birdipal complex? A hyper-ornithological delusion? A burgeoning psychosis stemming from a full-on manic obsession to find birds?
Whoa whoa whoa, I’ll be making zee diagnosees. Let’s not go crazy, ok?
Hey, if you make the diagnoses, I get to makes the jokes.
And a bit controlling besides…
Wait, what are you writing over there?
Nozing important. Let’s talk about your dreams. Have you been seeing anyzing unoosual in ze last couple weeks?
You know it’s funny you ask, doc. I’ve been getting these messages lately, about birds, of all things. I thought there was something wrong with my head, bats in the belfry, you know? Owls in the attic, Mockers in the ole grape bush or something.
I am not familiar wiz zees expressions, but zat you refer to your dreams as “messages” eez somewhat… unconventional…
And deed you hear zis from your “messenger”?
Hey, knock it off! I’m beginning to think you’re not taking me seriously here.
Of course, of course, do go on. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Tell me about your childhood…
Well, it certainly wasn’t as idyllic as that of a Whooping Crane, if that’s what you’re getting at.
Zat’s not… quite what I meant.
Well doc, in as a child I always felt more at home in wide open spaces, where shorebirds fill mudholes and butterflies cover trees, you know? But these days, I feel like I miss too much.
I see, and zees feeling of loss informs zees Big Year, where you cannot miss anyzing?
Whoa, that’s deep man. I hadn’t gone there yet. But maybe you’re right, doc. This undertaking, at times I’ve felt as lost as a Bulbul messing with a computer. To paraphrase Ice Cube, tickin’ ain’t easy, but it’s necessary.
Yes, Ize Cube is a great philozopher. So why do you continue wiz zees bird year?
Well, it’s exciting, the thrill of discovery, the awareness of the ebb and flow of seasonal change from the first flight of terns in spring to the rush of sparrows in fall. It does make me happy, not as happy as a male on territory singing to a female bird, but it’s nice, you know.
Ah, zee female birds, now we’re getting somewhere, eez zees a concern?
Hey, I never said that. I’m a happily married man. Sometimes a Boat-tailed Grackle is just a Boat-tailed Grackle, if you catch my drift.
Hmmm, eef you say so…
I do say so, in fact. I’m not being intentionally obtuse, avoiding the issue as a Rail avoids the gaze of the searcher. I’m trying to open up here doc, as wide, even, as the gape of a Papuan Frogmouth!
Zees references, zey confuse me. I suspect it ees your id acting out in zubconscious ways. Eet appears to be more difficult to zeparate you from zees birds you go on about.
Is that troubling? Perhaps it’s the next evolutionary step for the birder, to become the bird, like what happened with the dinosaurs. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it? I know more than a few folks who would gladly share the cleverness of a Blue Jay or, at least, the fishing acumen of a Kingfisher.
For you I might suggest a cuckoo… What about dealing wiz birds on a more conscious level? Have you been working on that?
Very funny. Well, feeding birds is obviously a conscious effort, one shouldn’t worry a great deal about the impact of a few hungry visitors, that is, if we avoid spoiling them too much. But that’s not all I want to limit myself to.
Oh no? What eez it you’re looking to accomplish?
Just the opportunity to do the right thing for the right reason I suppose, whether it’s reclaiming a wetland, researching bird populations or building a conservation network in Kenya. Isn’t that what any of us want?
Zose are some pretty high expectations, even the more realistic ones. Perhaps you are setting your standards too high?
Perhaps. Hold on a minute, I think I’ve got this figured out, the secret that birds and birding can provide for all of us! This is a real breakthrough! It’s so simple why didn’t I see it before!
I’m sorry, we’re out of time for zis session, it’ll have to wait till next time.
But I’m so close to real enlightenment!
Yes, we’ll cover it next time, I’ll be over at Ecobirder. You can reach me at tiercel63 AT yahoo DOT com.
Yes, you have zee bird-brain, eet’s very serious. You can pay in the waiting room.
And the prognosis?
I’m sorry, but it’s terminal.
I think I can live with that.