The Moment You Knew

Everyone has that moment of clarity when they realize their calling to bird.  When I figure out what mine was, I’ll let you know.  (We all have those moments, we just don’t all remember them!)  What I wanted to recall today was watching someone else’s moment.

At work we will frequently all run to one side, not because the building is listing, but because someone has just spotted a noteworthy bird.    We spent nearly a week determining whether our visiting hawk was a Red-Shoulder or a Cooper’s Hawk.  Every time the bird appeared, there’d be a run to the windows and a phone call to the lower offices to alert them as well.  This is what happens when you work at a nature center.

The only avian activity this week has been the woodpeckers.  Apparently there was a false alarm a few days ago regarding a Pileated Woodpecker sighting.  We do have them, but bird in question happened to be a Red-bellied Woodpecker.    So today, when the real Pileated made an appearance close to the center my co-worker was elated.   He was the one to spot it and had enough time to run inside to grab binoculars for a better look.    Standing in the cold sans coats, we watched a Red-bellied and Pileated systematically climb up the snags searching for grub.  When he walked in well after the rest of us, he was glowing and not from the cold.  In his future he perceived making plans and investments for a continued search for feathered friends.

Another birder is born!  Trips to the Meadowlands are closer than they appear.  Then Cape May, Hawk Mountain, and then the world!

In other news, “thesis” outline submitted to adviser!

6 thoughts on “The Moment You Knew

  1. Awesome stuff Kathleen! I can’t quite pin down my own spark moment (though a few contenders come to mind) but certainly witnessing such jubilation in another, especially when you can relate, is a wonderful thing!

  2. I think my spark bird was a Robin. As a small child I liked to climb trees and I remember climbing one and as I sat on a branch a Robin flew in and landed on its nest, which I hadn’t seen until the Robin flew in. To be so close to the Robin felt special. I got out of the tree as quickly as possible because I didn’t want to bother the nest. Even then I thought about ethics.

    • The naturalist, Tom Brown, talks about observing Robins in one of his books. In the book Brown discusses how his mentor sent him outside to really observe the nature of the Robin. Young Brown is dismissive, but when the two go together to see the bird, they learn so much more. Robins are a bird most people take for granted and at the same time never really see. When I studied ornithology as an undergrad, there were students in the class who didn’t know what it was! I love seeing them every year because it means spring is closer.

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