Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The Passionate Birder: I and the Bird #32
In the fortnight since I and The Bird last appeared, the conservation community has lost one of its most enthusiastic, outspoken proponents: Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter. Although his personality and onscreen presence was at times brash and even annoying to some, he had a true passion for the wildlife he loved, and he introduced a generation of TV-watchers to the danger and beauty surrounding his native Australia. He was one of a kind, and he will be missed. At least he died doing what he loved.
We birders are a passionate kind as well. It takes real passion to travel thousands of miles to see one new species, as much as it takes passion to sit still and notice the wonders of one's own backyard. It takes passion to stand out and be a voice for the conservation of birds, or to be a steward of one's own backyard. The posts submitted for this edition of I and the Bird reflect the true passion of their writers.
Birders are always passionate for adventure. Duncan, of Ben Cruachan Blog, recounts his birding adventures on the Surf Coast of Australia. Trevor had the opportunity to visit Adelaide, South Australia, and made the most of it. Nick, of BirdDC, went on a Chesapeake road trip over Labor Day weekend, and found out that sometimes persistence pays off, and sometimes it doesn't. It was a good trip, anyway.
Birders are passionate for seeing new things. David at Search and Serendipity finally found the frogmouth he was looking for at Papua New Guinea. Rick had a great day birding recently, including seeing a family of black capped gnatcatchers. Bora has been seeing a rash of pretty birds recently, and his latest may be something unusual for his area. Marc at The Hornet's Nest has a wish list for new and unusual things he would like to see at his patch, and Patrick at The Hawk Owl's Nest has a success story of sorts, where the right bird showed up in the right place at the right time, after a long wait.
Birders are also passionate for biology and conservation. Jeff Wells of the Boreal Bird Initiative muses on Eskimo curlews while traveling. Conservation First is a good idea. Rob got involved with the Idaho Bird Conservatory's volunteer bird banding project and got to see some amazing birds up close. Mike of 10,000 birds introduces us to the world of complexity that exists among mallards. I never knew! John, of A DC Birding Blog, educates us about a beautiful raptor species (aren't they all beautiful!), the Broad-winged Hawk. John Trapp has an interesting post about some proposed changes to the common bird names we know and love. Eek! Change! As if change in Latin names wasn't enough...And finally, on this note, Floridacracker, whose blog I read religiously every day, shows how a few dead trees can do a lot of good for birds on his land in the last undeveloped tract of Pure Florida.
And, birders have a passion for life; for noticing the changes of the seasons, for appreciating the beauty of the world around them, and observing everyday beauty in the realm of home. And seeing how birds fit into all that. Sometimes that life depends upon predation, as Carel of Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding narrates thoughtfully in Killing To Live Or Living To Kill. Alex of Have Passport, Will Travel has certainly noticed that migration time is upon us. The migration thing is not lost on many; pascal has noticed it as well. Susannah gives a delightful account of a family of chickadees in her yard; I am always a sucker for a good chickadee story! Soobie at Snail Spirals muses on her ten most beautiful birds...I change my mind every time I try to make up that list! Pam at Tortoise Trail paused to appreciate not one but three red-tailed hawks, and got some beautiful photos. Which reminds me...my kids yelled to me this weekend: "Mom! There's an eagle with a red tail!" My kids should know how lucky they are, to think seeing a bald eagle is an ordinary thing, but seeing a red-tailed hawk is unusual! And, last but definitely not least...I really do want you to read this one...mojoman integrates bird song and deep musings on life in his excellently-written essay, Waiting for the Light.
Well, that concludes it for another round of I and the Bird. I really have enjoyed hosting this edition, and seeing all the great perspectives on birding from around the world. The next edition will be hosted at Don't Mess With Taxes; submissions due 9-26.
Cheers. And remember, be passionate.