Did we just become best friends? I think I’m a birder now. Damnit. (Old dud with binoculars.) Yesterday I found myself on a mountain top in frigid temps. (It’s ten degrees right now here in old Santa Fe.) I had just made a thousand-foot elevation gain at maximum pace, so my heart felt like it would rocket up my throat at any moment. I was wearing gloves, hat and four layers over my torso but I was still wearing shorts. (acid-washed jean micro shorts of course.)
I was sweaty and knew I only had a few moments before I would begin to get cold, so I found shelter from the wind, pulled my trusty binoculars and began feverishly hunting for birds. (I used to hunt with a shotgun so the idea of looking for birds is natural for me.) There was the steady cry of the raven. Did you know the raven shares characteristics with humans? Do you know they have the largest brain of any bird and can practice linguistic displacement? They problem-solve, imitate and even communicate with wolves to help them break down a kill. But ravens are common. I was after the songbird.
My first find. An American Robin. How on Earth is it that I can be so excited by seeing a robin? What fundamental DNA strain connects me with this tiny creature? My heart rate began to rocket back up as I noticed a swirl of color glide then stop on a nearby tree. Now, I had my glasses off so all I saw was a streak of colored movement. But when the binoculars came up the robin filled the frame. “I got you,” I uttered. The bird looked at me. I looked at him/her and we just had a moment. “Sup?”
This was my second purposeful encounter with birds in the past month and I have to say, I’m totally digging the experience. We are losing SO many species at such a high rate I figured there is no better time than now. And my next project? Drawing birds. When it comes to drawing I suck beyond belief so this isn’t going to be easy. Stay tuned.