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My Life’s Birds: #375

March 10, 2010
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Jun 22, 2005 – West Lafayette, In – In 2004,  the woman who would soon become my wife was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and with little reason to stay in the Midwest, I headed to North Carolina.  It wasn’t long after that we had made things official with our intention to marry and planned an epic road-trip to our respective childhood homes to visit friends and family in advance of the official nuptials. For Danielle, this meant a stop in West Lafayette, Indiana, where her parents lived at the time.

Danielle mentioned in her post a few weeks ago that her mom was an avid birdfeeder and watcher, and although at this point I could scarcely call myself anything close to that, I felt I had an obligation to take my future mother-in-law out to see something, even if she was far more knowledgeable than I about what was even likely.  One evening, we ended up heading out to a favorite haunt of her’s, a marshy area known as the Celery Bog.  We had one pair of binoculars between us, hers; and we traded back and forth looking at Wood Ducks and Indigo Buntings.  It was fun, and I enjoyed the feeling of having this knowledge at my fingertips again even if I was more than a little rusty with my birdsongs.

Years later, when I was retroactively marking the lifers I picked up during the dark years, I realized that the Chickadees I saw that evening, as well as the ones that I watched at their busy bird feeding station, were likely Black-capped Chickadees rather than Carolinas, as West Lafayette lies just north of the range of overlap.  For my soon to be wife it may well be the beginning of the end, priming the pump for the next bird that I often consider to be, not my spark bird, but my re-spark bird.  The Chickadee, however, remains my one Indiana life bird, and a memory of how seemingly unconnected events, like meeting and dating Danielle, can lead to truly  serendipitous moments.

photo from wikipedia

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