Monday, January 14, 2013

To The Bird Not Seen

Just to be clear, I am not a professional birder. I like watching birds and its always fun when I see something new or unusual. A bird I didn't notice before or one makes an unexpected appearance can really make my day. However, many times when I see birds, I can't make an immediate identification and am left wondering what did I just see. I will start by stating the obvious problem: most birds can fly and do so on a regular basis.

Flying birds have always fascinated me. Watch the horizon (especially in Eastern Oregon where I grew up) and you will see birds in flight. Sometimes these are massive flocks of starling or crows, but other times a solitary bird slowly flying into the evening sunset. What is that bird and where is it going?

Ah, how many birds have I seen flying but have not been able to say who they are. Yesterday, I saw a large woodpecker flying away from me across a frozen swamp. I am pretty sure I know what it was but alas I don't know for sure. And there are the birds that fly before you can get a really good look. Usually this is happens as I scan the trees and bushes after seeing a flick of movement out of the corner of my eye. There it is and then it flies higher into the tree. Sometimes I get a good look and then consult the bird book only to look up and see the bird flying off. Was it bird A or B? Too late now.

Perhaps this is just the musings of a birding beginner who still wonders if its a crow or raven, a tree or chipping sparrow, a duck or a goose (well I am past this point at least). It really comes down to whether you know that you saw the bird that you saw. If not, then I think of it as a bird that's not really been seen. I guess this just part of the challenge and allure of bird watching is.  

No comments:

Post a Comment