I and the BirdAlthough the twain rarely meet in the field, birding and drinking seem similar in many ways. That’s right, I said drinking… a topic to ponder in honor of the Drinking Birder, our current host of I and the Bird. Both observing avians and imbibing alcoholic beverages are fun if conducted properly, but can lead, through overindulgence, in physical distress, mental anguish, and lock of gainful employment. Drinking, like birding, seems to have plenty of fans; I’m told that some devotees, usually the least experienced ones, wait all week to cut loose on the weekend. It seems like it may even be possible to fit both activities into a busy schedule above and beyond the occasional Birds and Beers. Is it a coincidence that the prime hours for drinking begin about when birding peak hours end? In fact, people passionate about these recreational activities say that they never stop doing them!

I could tell you a few stories about how crazy it can get when you mix birding and drinking. For example, just last summer… oh wait, our host isn’t called the Drinking Birder after all. N8 blogs at The Drinking Bird, which is still somewhat related to alcoholic indulgence. A drinking bird is a thermodynamically-powered toy heat engine that mimics the motions of a bird drinking from a fountain or other water source. To operate this novelty device, also known as a Happy, Tippy, Sippy, Dippy, Dip-Dip, Dinking, or Dunking bird, just wet its head and let the excitement begin. As the water on the bird’s head evaporates, fluid moves from the base to the head, causing it to dip forward. Once the bird dips forward, the fluid returns to the base, causing the bird to become bottom-heavy and tip back up. If you think the device sounds like fun, you should check out N8’s blog, brewed in North Carolina with quality ingredients like nature and politics. Your first taste of N8’s frothy comestible should definitely be his tremendous “As Seen on TV” presentation of I and the Bird #61.

Well, I don’t always get it right but maybe, just maybe, you don’t either. For example, when was the last time you contributed a quality bird or birding post to I and the Bird, even knowing that our huge audience of intelligent and only slightly tipsy readers would love your work? Fortunately, it’s never too late to make a change for the better. Send your links and summaries to me or Greg Laden (greg AT gregladen DOT com) by Tuesday, November 13 for the next exceptional edition of IATB. Also, let me know soon if you’d like to host one of the two remaining dates in 2007.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.