Quiz 1 Hint: This bird is larger than a Least Sandpiper.
The Great Ornithologist Felonious Jive. Perhaps you have heard of me? I am, in fact, the best birder in the world.
It brings me great pleasure to announce that I was recently paid an exorbitant sum of money to join 10,000 Birds. It is an arrangement that should be beneficial to all of us. 10,000 Birds will be exposed to, for the first time ever, The Truth About Birding. By joining the staff and walking through these hallowed cyberhalls, I will have, in effect, elevated 10,000 Birds to the status of the indisputable Greatest Birding Blog In The World…and who wouldn’t want to write for that? But, as those who find themselves worshipped are prone to say, we wouldn’t be here without you. We would just be a bunch of dudes and chicks writing about birds on a blog that no one reads, instead of being out making the world a better place for birds and birders alike. And that, my new friends, would be just dreadful. So thank you for the accolades that I (er, we) are sure to garner.
Friends. Countrymen. International birds of the world. Perhaps I should give you a proper introduction of myself. I am the world’s leading birder. This is not up for debate. When I found the United States’ first recorded Pine Flycatcher by scent alone, I think I put any lingering doubts to roost. Some birders want to be me….and, to be frank, some birders want to be with me. I cannot blame anyone for this. People want to have a part of the absolute power associated with my position…they want a piece of the prestige. They want, in short, The Glory. That said, I am not without modesty. It is not as if I invented birding (although I did invent “pishing”). Every night I pray to the patron saints of birding…Saint Audubon, Saint Peterson, and my very own ancestor, the dashing Father of American Ornithology himself, Saint Alexander Wilson. Wilson is the namesake of Wilson’s Warbler, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Wilson’s Phalarope, Wilson’s Plover…you get the idea. My blood is steeped in birds. They are my destiny.
But to understand that, you must know how I came to be the proverbial king upon the throne. It started many years ago. When I was but a child, I was caught in a horrific accident. It is difficult to speak of…the explosion, the flames, the blood, the inhuman screams, the terrible sound of metal being ripped apart. I was left completely blind and crippled. I was never expected to do anything remotely human ever again…in fact, after several weeks of being unable to respond to any stimulus at all, I recall hearing friends and family members speak openly about my fate. I was a vegetable, they said, an invalid…they even said I bore a disturbingly strong resemblance to one Freddy Kruger, which I regarded with no small amount of horror at the time.
For weeks, I drifted in and out of consciousness. People did not seem to be coming around any more…they had given up on me. My mind was there, but for all anyone knew, I had entered a permanent state of torpor. It was horrible. And so it came to be the sounds of concerned relatives were replaced with the soothing sounds of bird calls. Apparently, my bed was near our backyard feeder, and the window was left open frequently so I could air out. The bird songs and calls became my only gateway to the world, and then it became more. It grew into a portal that let me escape my bodily prison into a glorious new avian reality. I quickly became familiar with all the bird sounds…eventually, I could tell them apart by species, sex, age, and finally, individual. I know not how I possessed this knowledge…it is the only thing I have ever experience that cannot be explained by Science. Before this, I had never given birds much thought, aside from the fact that one kind came in a bucket and tasted good.
One day, months after the accident, I heard a different sound. It was unlike anything I had heard before. My body became electrified. My eyelids flew open. I blinked, and a peculiar bird came into focus. My vision, inexplicably, was sharper than it had ever been before. A small orange bird with a dark mask peered at me from outside. I bolted out of my chair, coughed up my feeding tube, and I screamed. I shouted for joy. My first words in months were “HATCH-YEAR FEMALE SIBERIAN ACCENTOR!!!!! HATCH-YEAR FEMALE SIBERIAN ACCENTOR!!!!”.
And so it began. I have never been fully able to explain what happened on that fateful winter morning, so many years ago. There are a number of theories about it, but I am not as interested in myself as I find others to be (three biographies of me are being written as we speak).
Quiz 2 Hint: There are two (2) species in this photograph.
There you have it birders. This is how I came to be. But I could not have done it without my brother Seagull Steve, who leads the world in birder research. His work can be found at Bourbon, Bastards and Birds.
Feel free to leave a comment about what you would like the world’s best birder to expound upon in the future posts. I will make a habit of doing some easy photo quizzes for beginning birders out there, complete with a hint! I do not anticipate them to take more than a quick glance to make a correct identification. Anything more would be just shameful.
Good birding everyone.