At last, we get to meet Bad Birdwatcher #2, the lucky reader who received our second free copy of How To Be A (Bad) Birdwatcher. Bad Birdwatcher #2, who goes by the alias ‘Wolff,’ won us over with his honesty, selflessness, and spunk. That he sought this book on behalf of his fellow Urban Park Rangers certainly didn’t hurt. As a city boy, it’s my obligation to support NYC naturalists!
Right. Three months ago, I couldnâ€™t have told a woodthrush from a woodchipper. The only birdcalls I was liable to recognize came in ringtone-form. And in the eternal battle against eagle and jet engine, I tended to root for the jet engine.
Nowadays, I work as an Urban Park Ranger Fellow in [NAME WITHHELD TO PROTECT THE GUILTY] and yesterday my corneas nearly calcified into rock salt after starring at some Little Brown Job for twenty baffled minutes. I wear a blue jay feather in my Smokey-the-Bear/Oddjob hat, Iâ€™ve been nearly decapitated by a low-flying great heron, and the elusive indigo bunting has been deified into the realm of myth. We even recently discovered our Sergeantâ€™s Avian Holy Grail, the local red-tailed hawk nest, at great personal risk to life, limb and dignity.
What Iâ€™m saying is: while my level of ignorance may be the same, at least now I have spunk.
I work where I do because the Parks Department recently invented this newfangled contraption, called â€˜a budget.â€™ While it allows us to pay the rent and occasional treat ourselves to flavored ramen, our meager nature center library wallows in tattered, yellowed obscurity. And Iâ€™d like to think that a crisp, virgin copy of â€˜How to be a (Bad) Birdwatcherâ€™ would fit snugly in-between our illustrious â€˜Bird Watching for Dummiesâ€™ and a hefty bag of owl pellets.
And the kicker? You donâ€™t even need to pay for shipping. Weâ€™re so close, you could probably deliver a copy to [us] via catapult, or more appropriately, carrier pigeon. Come in, take a load off! Bring snacks. Our Eastern Box Turtle could even resemble a belted kingfisher if you squint really, really, really hard.
Far be it from me to decline such a gracious invitation. Mason and I braved the fierce New York heat to hand-deliver the book to Wolff and his colleagues. We really enjoyed meeting the urban ranger crew, exploring the specimens, both live and dead, in the Nature Center, and sharing enthusiastic accounts of the local species. As you can see from the picture above, our last free copy of How To Be A (Bad) Birdwatcher is in good hands. The rest of you will have to buy this beautiful book.