Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy to be confused

OK. So there is this family of birds, known as flycatchers, that start calling, somewhat repetitively, in early spring. These birds eat bugs, like mosquitos, gnats, and other somewhat annoying (to humans) flying insects. In the Peterson's Field Guide (if you don't have one, get it, it is the basic bible for identifying the birds of North America); and while they are not particularly exciting, they are the only game in town in the early spring-time. It seems that the birders always want the birds to show up earlier than they do, but then that is just a human failing, but not a heinous one--it is born of the love of nature, and the desire to see every species possible, given constraints of travel, money, and the trade off of just identifying a bird vs. really getting to know a species. Be that as it may, early Spring is a time of seems that the birds always wait to arrive, in fact they may actually be dawdling, quite possibly just to annoy us, or to reinforce the desire that builds as we heighten our longing for the species' returns. But I digress. The family known as Empidonax includes Acadian, Yellow-bellied, Least, Willow, and Alder. Sadly, for the over-achiever, it can be pretty difficult to tell one from another, but it can be done, especially if you have a brother like mine. He is a bird genius.

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