Monday, November 2, 2009

She's Just Not That Into You

Hey Shiny Cowbird,

Thanks so much for meeting me at Hague Dairy last Saturday. It was great to finally meet you. It's always a pleasure to meet a new bird for the first time. All my friends told me not to expect a tropical bird like you all the way up here, so I was genuinely touched that you decided to drop by.

No, I didn't have any trouble finding you. Well, actually I would have, if the trip leader on the Alachua Audubon field trip hadn't pointed you out. I didn't really know what you looked like, and it would have been kind of hard picking you out with all your Brown-headed relatives flocking around.

And thanks for being so cooperative. At least you thought to wait for us on a post with only a handful of other birds on it, rather than parking yourself on that barn roof in the middle of several hundred Brown-headed Cowbirds. And you actually stayed fairly still up there, too, so we all got to spend a lot of time looking at you through our scopes.

No, no, I'm not just saying all of this to sound polite, I mean it. What do you mean, I don't sound very excited? Were you excited to see me? Okay, that's different.

It's just—oh wow, I have no idea how to put this—I didn't feel a spark when I saw you like I get with other lifers. You know that spark. Like when you see a Painted Bunting or a Hooded Warbler or—

Wait, there's nothing wrong with the way you look. You look exactly like everyone said you'd look. Kind of like a Red-winged Blackbird without the red. Or yellow.

No, I'm NOT describing you as an even more boring version of a mundane bird. Did I say that? Look, I can't just make that spark happen. And we met in a crappy area. Seriously. You were perched above a manure pit. Doesn't really make a great first impression.

Yes, I know that birding isn't about just the pretty birds, it's about understanding and respecting all of you, and appreciating what all of you tell us about the natural world. And I know you're a great bird and you've got a lot to tell me. But right now, the chemistry is just not there. I just can't get myself worked up over you.

Sorry, Shiny. You deserve better. It's not you, it's me.