Pablo Picasso famously boasted, “I do not seek. I find.” Arrogant gasbag though he was, Picasso certainly described the dream of birders everywhere. Delving into a thick rainforest or bog and finding every single species on your checklist is somewhat unrealistic. Nailing every twitch and longshot is outright fantasy. And yet every week, veritable armadas of avian admirers comb the world’s beaches, thickets, gardens, and sundry wild places seeking, searching, straining for that special sighting.
To search with both intensity and endurance is a birder’s lot. It takes work to bring in the good birds, whatever that designation means to you. Your fervent surveys might take you through fetid swamps, atop remote mountains, and through the icy spray of angry, foam-flecked seas. You’ll stay up well past midnight to spy owls and nightjars, only to arise before dawn in pursuit of rare songbirds. When not on the trail, you’ll pore over field guides and trip reports, preparing for the moment when success alights on a nearby branch.
All that fervent effort does pay off though, doesn’t it? Like Picasso himself, we often experience the joy of finding. Through sweltering heat, numbing cold, fierce wind and weather and wilderness, the birds are there, right where we expect them. Even better, some species pop up in places they shouldn’t. Winds of fortune might waft a whistling duck to New York City or blow an American Robin to Britain. Those that seek often find more than they anticipate. Therein lies the magic of birding, the virtuous cycle that drives this engine of avian discovery: search and serendipity.
David Ringer knows all about Search and Serendipity. His birding adventures have driven him throughout the United States and halfway around the world. I can attest that David doesn’t just depend on luck but makes his own through painstaking preparation and commitment. Believe me, I never would have stolen a glimpse of a Golden-cheeked Warbler without him! David knows a bit about hosting a birding blog carnival as well; IATB #12, entitled Ye Canterbirdy Tales, was nothing less than inspired. He’s at it again with a outstanding video presentation of I and the Bird #60.
When you seek, what do you find? Share your serendipitous sightings with the appreciative audience of I and the Bird. Our next host is the nattily-named N8 of The Drinking Bird. Send a link and summary for your best blog post on birding or wild birds to me or N8 (naswick AT hotmail DOT com) by the day before Halloween (10/30) for the edition slated for some time after that. Also, if you’re interested in hosting IATB, please let me know.
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