Thursday, January 30, 2014


Today, while I was riding my bike through the back bay of Newport, I came across a very large group of people, who were standing near the waters edge, with binocular and cameras, just staring at some birds floating in the water.  As I passed the group, I heard someone say, right before their giant camera fired off 14 consecutive shots of the swimming birds, "This is incredible."  Really?  Incredible?  I think we all need to stop a moment and clarify what definition we are using for "incredible" because I'm not sure we are all on the same page.  Incredible is: surviving a plane crash.  Incredible are: heart transplants, the amount of poo at 16 month old baby can generate, or the fact that Justin Bieber hasn't been shot.  Now, those things are incredible.  A plain looking bird floating in a feces filled bay, I got to say, is not exactly incredible.

So, I got to ask, and not the obvious question of, "Why are birds remotely interesting?" but, "How does one become an avid bird watcher?  Or what does it take to become a bird watcher?"  Seriously, I want to know.  Must you hate exciting things?  For example, if I enjoy speeding down a hill on my bike, would I be a bad candidate for bird watching?  Would it be better if I found enjoyment in sitting at the post office and watching customers buy stamps?  Am I getting in the bird running?

Secondly, is there a weekly newsletter, website or Facebook page of where one can post the thousands of pictures taken of the bird sitting in its nest?  Maybe I'm reaching here, but if I'm going to walk twenty yards into a forest, hold my breath, so as to not disturb my adoring subject, and manage (fingers crossed) to take 135 pictures of him, where and how can I share this gift with the world?  If nowhere, then bird friends, I'm not sure this gig is for me.

And lastly, to become a bird watcher, must you focus all energies just on birds?  For example, is it taboo to the hobby to become a fish watcher or a lover of different tree branches?  What if you explain that while falling in love with the birds, the branches just seemed to, unexpectedly, sneak up on you?  And you can't explain it, but there's just something you and the branches understand about one another that the birds just don't seem to get, or to be frank, try to get?

I know, I know, a lot of questions.  Maybe one day I'll get the courage to stop and interrupt the incredible magic going on in the back bay.

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