|Eastern Wood-Pewee by Henry McLin.|
Among my friends, I'm a birding genius. Among my birding peers, I'm tall and have tattoos. See, my friends don't know anything about birding and therefore I seem to know everything about it. But I'm going to make a confession to them. I suck, SO hard at birding. And punctuation I guess. A few weeks ago, with a brief early summer, people were seeing birds ahead of schedule. I was hearing them. I'm walking down main street Orono and I clearly hear a Pewee. Peeaweee, peeaaa, he sang. Impulsive as ever and thinking you all hang on my every tweet, I posted it. I was promptly corrected and told this was impossible in March. Like never has happened in history impossible. But it was that song. There've been no sightings of Mockingbirds on main street that I know of, not lately anyway. Still, the entire Ontario birding world would have descended upon me if I were right. I found the starling the next day singing from the top of a neighbour's. If I knew the lyrics to a culling song, that starling would've taken a dirt nap that night.
|Alder Flycatcher by jerryoldenettel.|
A few days later I see a flycatcher in the tree behind my home (to be fair, I had no bins and it was a good 45 ft away). A good birder would've went right to Eastern Phoebe based on where and what date. A shit one like me went right to Empidonax flycatchers upon hearing it sing to make an ID. Of course, like an arse, I tweet that I have a Alder Flycatcher in my yard. Not paying enough attention to the call, which would've put me squarely on Eastern Phoebe. Again I'm politely corrected. Much eye rolling I'm sure by several good birders nice enough to give me the time of day, despite my clear and monumental retardation.
|Eastern Phoebe by kenschneiderusa.|
Anyway, I could go on about stupid mistakes in ID that I've made if you have a few days to spare, but instead, I'll focus on how severe and public embarrassment is a great learning tool. Those two mistakes alone will help me ID three birds correctly from now on (four if you count the starling). I guess the key to learning bird ID is f**king up the first few times.
|European Starling by Kelly Colgan Azar.|
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