The highlight of Saturday’s birding was definitely my first Winter Wren sighting! Those birds are tiny, but boy are they ever LOUD! A little trivia for you (thanks to ornithologist extraordinaire and BNA): did you know that the Winter Wren has ten times the sound power of a crowing rooster? (I had better look up what BNA is, if I’m posing as an almost-birder.) Anyhow, the Winter Wren is so loud (and teeny) that when the bird sings, its whole body quivers and shakes maniacally! Quite the sight to behold. In case you’ve forgotten, here is the bird in question.
I also realized that ornithology is no place for feminist criticism. Have you ever seen female birds? I have to admit — I was tremendously disappointed. Let’s do a taste test. Here is (as you all know) my all-time favorite bird, otherwise known as my “spark bird” — the Red Winged Blackbird.
And here, alas, is its female counterpart. ALSO a red winged blackbird:
That was my exact reaction. (well, assuming we had the same reaction, but I’m pretty sure we must have, because really, how many different reactions to this taste test could you possibly have? Unless, of course, your predilection is for drab brownish brown birds, which, incidentally, I totally accept.) So, I wonder — what do feminists say about the Bird World?
Identifying birds is infinitely harder than I thought. Not only do males and females look so strikingly different, but birds also change their plumage a couple of times a year, and look different depending on the season. But I’m still an almost-birder, not even a beginner birder, so all errors remain permissible.
Had a great encounter with an owl (I only seem to have owl sightings in Whitby. Who knew Whitby Ontario was famous for its owls?), thanks to a member of our group who spotted him on a tree where I only saw branch upon branch upon branch. Seeing isn’t as easy as I thought either!
I’ve often wondered what animals do all day long, and whether they have intellectual aspirations akin to ours. When I was a little kid, I used to think that every life form modelled itself on human life. For instance, if I was told that an insect lived 24 hours, I’d imagine that from midnight to 2am, the bug went to elementary school, then high school, then graduated from university at about 9 a.m, then graduate school until noon, then the bug worked until 5pm, and then came retirement and fun, and, obviously death at midnight. It strikes me as slightly ridiculous that I believed such a thing until, well….later than one might think. But, as I said a few posts ago, I did lead a rather sheltered life, where the natural world is concerned. Of course, the thing that now puzzles me most is why on earth, at age 6, was I perfectly convinced that all animals should go to graduate school and get their PhD?