Monday, November 2, 2009
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.