Yesterday’s Mystery Bird that was stuck in my chimney is no longer a mystery! It was a female red-shafted Northern Flicker (photo from Cornell’s ornithology website, taken by Keven T. Karlson).
I was impressed with Cornell University’s ornithology website (which is what you’ll visit if you click on that first link) both for the multiple photos and the ability to listen to a clip of the bird’s song/noises. I’ve definitely heard that bird outside our house before, and it’s really cool to know what I’m hearing now.
I’d been sitting on that blog post for a few days, all the time wondering what kind of bird that was and trying to figure it out from online searches and my two birding books (National Geographic Field Guide and Birds of Utah). I finally decided to email Sharon Stiteler over at Birdchick.com to humbly request assistance, and was surprised by her lightning-quick response with a positive ID of the bird! She said that she was checking email at the time and thought my question was a fun challenge. And then she linked to this blog and challenged her readers to ID the bird…. cool!
Incidentally, Sharon’s profile claims her blog’s purpose “To show the world that you can be a birder without being a geek.” Well, I’m a geek, so I hope it’s okay that I want to be a birder!
I started reading Sharon’s blog at some point a while back when Neil Gaiman linked to her. They’re friends who pursued (and subsequently blogged about) a joint beekeeping adventure. And since I’m a wannabe birder, I stuck around and love looking at all the pretty birdy pictures and hearing about her adventures.
I’m a wannabe birder thanks to my good friend Susan from college. She was a fellow zoology major (until I switched gears and majored in English) and ended up in the field of ornithology after graduation, where she’s been ever since. Susan introduced me to pishing, which I’d like to try more often. I am jealous of all the exposure she’s had to owls. Because I think owls are neat, even when they’re being fed frozen mice.
While hunting for an ID for my mystery bird, I also came across the Utah County Birders, who apparently go on field trips (field trips! wheee!) and have monthly educational meetings. I don’t think that I will ever be a hardcore digiscoping birder, but I am definitely interested in learning more about birds. And since I neglected my natural interest in college by only attending one or two Naturalist Club meetings (before the field trips! boo!), I might just check them out.
The cool thing about learning is that even if you become a primo expert in a certain field, there’s somehow always more to learn. I don’t expect that I’ll become an expert in birds. I just want to know more about them!
And maybe find out which birding book should be the next addition to my library?