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Friday, April 15, 2005

Birding as Performance

One of the difficult things to convey through a blog is the performance aspect of birding. We all love to watch people who really know their stuff and can perform, whether through sports, the arts, etc. It is fun to marvel at their skill and enjoy their prowess.

When I grab a photo of a bird I've seen off the web to display and link to on this blog, I get the nicest one I can quickly find. The bird often fills the frame and gives a good sense of what it looks like. When I'm birding, its fun to get a killer look like that. But part of the fun of birding is to be able to identify a bird when you get nothing like a good view. To a novice, it can be simply amazing to see someone identify bird after distant bird by sight or even sound. As an expert, it is fun to do perform in this way.

Case in point was my latest yard bird yesterday, the cheeky little Ruby-crowned Kinglet. This is a tiny little bird with a huge red patch on the top of its head that it can hide or flash at will--usually when it is agitated. The photo you see here shows the patch well. However, the bird I saw today was 50 yards away, high in a tree, and I couldn't see much of it at all. I barely saw the white bars on the wings and the general size and shape. I was only able to identify it because I've seen thousands of them and know how they move and act. Its fun to be able to identify birds by these brief glimpses (more fun than writing about it!).
(photo:© Chris Carvalho

1 comment:

la_florecita said...

These birds are one of the reasons I love winter. Or "winter" - I'm in Houston. The leaves fall and I see Ruby-Crowned Kinglets out my window every day. If I hadn't gotten one mad at me one day by chasing it while it was hopping in the leaves, I'd never have seen the crown and never have known what it was.

Now I look forward to them every year.

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