Just to let all of you know, I’m about to take the plunge. It’s 99.9% decided. I’ve been mulling it over for a few months now, deciding whether it’s worth telling The World about and have finally come to the conclusion that this is News I should be proud to share.

I’m going to buy myself a new pair of binoculars! If you never thought I’d come this far, you’re not alone. I too never thought my bird THING would last this long! You see, bird watching isn’t really something I had imagined would be in my future. It’s not like I imagined I’d go see a fortune teller and she’d tell me WOW! YOU WILL BIRD WATCH! Beware. There is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it from happening.

The thing is, and I’ll be honest here, bird watching makes me happy. I have no idea why. I couldn’t tell you why watching a Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) roll around in the leaves (in Whitby, of all places!) is more than enough reward for three hours of basically standing still and a 6:30 am Saturday wake-up call.

What made this fox sparrow so completely awesomely gratifying was that I saw it rolling around in the leaves in the company of another, smaller, more ordinary looking sparrow and a junco and a couple chickadees! It was a total bird party out there somewhere in the middle of the woods in Whitby! I had never noticed how much fatter the Fox Sparrow is than all the others, but then again, maybe he’s bulking up for winter, who knows how bird metabolism really works.

And we saw numerous downy woodpeckers, which I can now almost certainly identify, doing their interminable tree-pounding routine, and I wondered, as I always do, every time I see a woodpecker in action, how it is that they never get a headache. Nature really IS awesome. By real birding standards, the day was nothing to brag about, but as far as I’m concerned, any time I can catch a woodpecker marking his territory is almost as good as eating bread pudding, fresh from the oven.

Of course, I now have this terrible feeling that I’m going to become one of these people who talks about binoculars and lenses and scopes and will alienate all of my friends and family in the process. I promise to keep the whole binocular shopping/evaluating/comparing/strategizing to a bare minimum here. But really, this is HUGE! I’m officially committing myself to birds for the next while. The somewhat birder may well one day become a bona fide birdwatcher. (of course, I’d have to know how to identify more then 7 birds, but who’s counting…)

I think Joey Slinger (formerly of Toronto Star fame) summed up binocular shopping perfectly:

In choosing binoculars, there is a simple rule to guide you: expensive ones are better. It is this way with everything else in life. Why should it be any different here? (Down and Dirty Birding)

So…. I’ll let you know what I end up with!

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