By Michael Wheelock, @MSWheelock
I like birds. Not in the casual “oh yeah, penguins are cute” kind of way, but in the “wow, look at the iridescent purple on that Northern Starling” kind of way (side note: Shakespeare introduced the Starling to North America. Well, sort of). Unfortunately, I’ve been caught up in the NYC hustle lately and haven’t had any time to enjoy this little hobby.
Flashback to mid-January-
I was in New Orleans to meet up with some friends, celebrate a birthday, and eat some alligator. On the last day of the trip, my girlfriend suggested we go for a walk in the local park. It was sunny and 75oF out (on a day when it was 20oF and snowing in NYC), so I was more than excited to soak it in. Things began normal enough, with small talk and puppy ogling (“that black lab was awesome!”). That is, until we got to the edge of a small pond and I saw this:
What is that?!
I asked my girlfriend for her iPhone and took a quick photo. She knew I liked birds so this wasn’t a huge surprise. A few minutes later, we took a seat at a small gazebo by the pond where I saw these:
Pretty sweet. Still, I satisfied my birding urge with a few pics and managed to keep my cool. But woah nelly! It all went downhill after this:
“Oh wow! It’s a Wood Duck! I’ve never seen one in real life before!”. Now she knew it was serious.
Next up was this collection of ducks I couldn’t identify:
Then this guy who looks like a popular Mardi Gras mask:
Woah! Is that a Mute Swan?:
And what on EARTH is this thing (my girlfriend affectionately named it “uggo”)?!:
Lets just say that by the end of our walk, I had ogled way more birds than puppies. That’s when it hit me; I really like birds. Moreover, I really like sharing my experiences and (limited) knowledge about them with others. That’s when I decided to (re)open my twitter account, grab a camera, and put my birding pants back on!
On the “The Birdphiles”, I’ll be posting cool bits about bird biology and the local bird(ing) community at Rockefeller. You can also follow my most recent birding exploits at RU and abroad on twitter @MSWheelock #TheBirdphiles.
If anyone is interested in sharing some of their own birding experiences and expertise, just send me an email at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
Until then; keep your eyes on the skies, your ears to the wind and your field guide close at hand.