Monthly Archives: February 2013

February…

Birdiest readers! Need I say more? February has been depressingly grey and I’m ready for it to end! Thankfully, spring is just around the corner (after we’re done with the upcoming snow/rain extravaganza that’s in store for Southern Ontario starting tomorrow).

But before we’re done with this drab month that never ceases to amaze me with its relentless ability to make everything seem not quite great, I do have news, birdy and otherwise.

I wrote about my miraculous experience of seeing SIX snowy owls in one day here. Check it out! The week before my bonanza owl day, I saw a glorious Short eared Owl! He performed his awe-inspiring neck twisting routine for me, and I couldn’t tell if he was just grumpy or didn’t care for my outfit because he kept twitching and turning away from me as soon as we made eye contact. We certainly kept our distance, but I didn’t get the sense that he was in the mood for company. Regardless, I got great looks through the scope, and perhaps one day we’ll meet up again and he’ll remember me as that birder who was so happy to see him she couldn’t get that dumb grin off her face. I probably did look a little too eager.

Shortly before the short eared owl sighting, we caught a glimpse of a juvenile Golden Eagle flying around from one tree to another. There was a hawk slightly above him, trying to psych the eagle out, but the eagle remained calm as a can be and continued his odd flight patterns (was he trying for figure eights? I couldn’t figure it out…). Our fearless leader caught the eagle in his scope and managed to follow him around for about 10 minutes. I relied on my Zeiss binoculars to expose his glorious plumage (I couldn’t see the gold but did get the great white wing bars, and the white on his tail).

And though I know this news will thrill nobody but me (and perhaps anybody whose birding skills are worse than mine), I’ve finally learned to distinguish the nuthatch from the chickadee. I made some rather embarrassing gaffes, but those are now a thing of the past!

Finally, in non-birdy news, I have a creative nonfiction publication in PRISM International that’s out on newsstands right now! If you are desperately aching to read it and can’t access PRISM from where you are, send me an email. It’s nice to see the piece out in the world, since it’s one that was years in the making! And, I’m thrilled to have an essay forthcoming in a collection called Truth, Dare, Double Dare which will be published by Goose Lane in 2014. The essays deal with the full spectrum of motherhood (or non-motherhood, as is my case). The collection is edited by the wonderful and brilliant Kerry Clare, and features a fantastic array of Canadian writers! I’m honored and humbled to be part of this collection. Here’s a link to the genesis of the book.

So, in the grand scheme of things, February has been quite kind to me, but I’m still glad it’s over. Something about grey days, the lamest Academy Awards Ceremony in recent memory, a dearth of good movies, and the absence of properly insulated boots brings out the worst in me. I’m officially ready for March!

Etc.

Beloved Birders! Since you’re all dying to know — I *LOVED* Jeffrey Kimball’s BIRDERS. You can read my mini-review right here. I’ve been recommending the movie to everybody I know. Watch it! You won’t regret it. Even my nonbirder husband couldn’t tear himself away from the couch.

I hope you all celebrated World Wetlands Day (February 2) in appropriate and lavish fashion. I spent a fair bit of time researching the Donana National Park, which happens to house Europe’s largest wetland, and which my nonbirder husband, my Tilley hat and I plan on visiting this coming April. If you have any tips on birding in Spain, do let me know!

Magical Wood Ducks and Other Miracles

Beloved Birders! I think I might be starting to believe in miracles.

Miraculous event #1: I saw my first Wood Duck, which is cause enough for rejoicing. My enthusiasm was just about boundless when I saw this marvel of a duck that looked like it had been painted by a brilliant, meticulous, first rate artisan. I was so impressed that I wrote about the event here and here. (The wood duck also happens to be the state game bird of Mississippi. Clearly, I’m not the only one who’s obsessed.)

Miraculous event #2: The second of the two links, fellow birders, is another blog that I’m thrilled to be a part of. BirdCanada now features contributing writers from all across the country, and I’ll be writing there on the 26th of each month.

Miraculous event #3: As my faithful readers know, I’ve been dying to see Jeffrey Kimball’s BIRDERS since the documentary came out on HBO earlier in July. As Rick Wright suggested, I could have gone to the January meeting of the Linnean Society to watch the film, but finances, better judgment and work commitments intervened. Instead, I called my video store (yes, I still frequent a video store) and asked if they had the film on release day (January 22 — ok, truth be told, I got a bit obsessed with the idea of seeing this movie) and the friendly video-store-owner kindly asked me to describe the movie, which I proceeded to do in a slightly hyper and perhaps overly effusive manner. Five minutes later, the video store owner called me back (!) and announced he had ordered the DVD. Two days later, said video store owner called me yet again to tell me the movie had arrived and he wished me good luck with my birding!

Miraculous event #4: I am about to watch BIRDERS.

Miraculous event #5: Guess who’s going to Hog Island Audubon Bird Camp in September to study fall migration?

And to think… it all started with a wood duck. I’m beginning to think 2013 may well be my Year of the Wood Duck. Stay tuned for more.