Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Something that happens regularly to birders is to be baffled by non-birders. Not as people, they are as messed up as everyone else, but because of the tales they tell you: "Oh, you're a birdie person, aren't you? Well, we had this AMAZING bird on the lawn: bright blue it was, enormous, and it was making a nest out of discarded pooh sticks..." And so on. It's no use telling them it was a Jay (which it certainly was), because they come back with "Oh no, it definitely wasn't a jay. We had one of those hanging on the peanut feeder the other day..." And so on (Jays don't hang on peanut feeders, by the way).
Yesterday, a farmer's wife (we were there on Barn Owl business) announced that a particular bird of prey had bred on their land for the last three years. The bird she nominated does not breed in our part of the country, but it has an extremely rare and similar-looking cousin that very occasionally does, though never recorded in that particular area. Baffling.
Maybe I really SHOULD take up a new hobby, Like, say, stamp-collecting. But I know what will happen: "Oh, yes, you're a philatelist, aren't you? Well, I found this amazing stamp on a postcard the other day. It was one of those, you know, "penny blacks"...............
Yeah, sure. Pass the headache powder.

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