August 24, 2007

I've Been MEME-ing to Post This

Because I am physically incapable of resisting a meme...

1. What is the coolest bird you have seen from your home?
This one's tough, since I've had so many backyards in my lifetime....

If we start way back in Minnesota when I was a kid, it would probably be the Cooper's Hawk that landed on our porch railing.

While living in the suburbs of Washington, DC, however, the coolest bird was definitely the Northern Mockingbird that acted as my alarm clock every morning.

In North Carolina, it's a tie between the Whippoorwill that would keep me up at night for hours, or the Eastern Screech Owl that I'd stay up for hours to listen to.

Up in Fairbanks, Alaska, it would be the bazillions of Common Redpolls that mobbed our feeders all winter.

While living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, it was the Mountain Bluebirds and Western Meadowlarks that always brightened my days.

And in Troy, Idaho, the covey of California Quail that lived under a bush on the side of our house win the honor hands down.

Back up in Alaska, this time along the coast in Seward, it depends on what qualifies as "backyard." If flyovers count, then it's the Marbled Murrelets that flew overhead to get to their nesting sites in the forest. If flyovers don't count, it would be the numerous Bald Eagles that would perch in the spruce trees all year long.

And finally, here at our home in Arizona we've got so many cool species that are really new to us, it's incredibly hard to pick. But the highlights are the Phaenopeplas, Verdins, Summer and Western Tanagers, Gambel's Quail, Gila Woodpeckers, and the five species of hummingbirds that visit our feeders.

Ok, I probably cheated on that question. Oh well...

2. If you compose lists of bird species seen, what is your favorite list and why?
Well, I only compose one list, and that's my life list. Right now it's been rather stagnant at 449 for a couple months. The flurry of new species we've seen since moving to Arizona seems to have cooled down. I'm going to have to make some more trips down to the Huachucas to look for more (like the Flame-colored Tanager and Elegant Trogon).

3. What sparked your interest in birds?
There's no doubt in my mind that it was due to growing up on a lake and next door to a wooded lot in Minnesota with a dad who loved birds (but never got as crazy about them as I have). Our crappy old pair of binoculars were constantly glued to my face. I even remember as a 9 year old kid requesting bird books for Christmas (in addition to Transformers and Star Wars figures, of course). I think it was obvious to everyone who knew me that I was destined for bird-nerdness. I mean, how many 9 year olds ask Santa for the Audubon Field Guide to Western Birds?

4. If you could only bird in one place for the rest of your life where would it be and why?
Wow, that's a tough one. I'm assuming this doesn't mean it's the only place I could live, but rather the only place I'd be allowed to go birding? In that case, and given the assumption that I'd be able to go there any time I wanted to...either the cloud forests of Peru or the jungles of Indonesia. So...many...birds...

5. Do you have a jinx bird? What is it and why is it jinxed?
If there was a single species that has eluded every attempt I have made to locate one, despite having lived most of my life within its range, it is the Great Grey Owl. I have seen (and even held) most every other species of northern owl, but the Great Grey continues to elude me. Someday...

6. Who is your favorite birder? and why?
Got to be Kenn Kaufman. If for no other reason than "Kingbird Highway" is one of my favorite books of all time.

7. Do you tell non-birders you are a birder?
Well, considering we have a license plate that reads "BRDNERD" I think it's hard for us NOT to tell people.

Well, that's it. I think I'm going to tag Dave and Amy, even though neither one of them seems to really enjoy meme-ing much.


cogresha said...

BRDNERD, Hah! How about BRDSTUD? Doubt anybody would get that! I've seen some variations on BIRDER.

I've added you to my list of birding meme participants. Check out what others had to say.

P. Ollig said...

Never thought of BRDSTUD. We just got a second car, too... hmmmmmm.

Thanks for the meme. That was a fun one.

James said...

You are such a nerd PoopieDoopie. Im a nerd too but you are TOP NERD. Anyway im bored and my son is sitting on the potty watching Thomas the Train so I will answer the ?'s.

1. I saw a flash of gold outside my window one morning and jumped up from sitting, and dashed to the door to see what bird it was. I was running track at the time and had been battling a little low iron in the blood (anemia). I jumped up so fast that I gave myself a headrush. I saw the beautiful goldfinch as I opened the door just before I passed out. So it would have to be the Goldfinch.

2. I have a life list but I also keep a small list usually on the back of some paper or a area guide of the park I was visiting that day. I love those little list because they are records of where I was and what I saw. My favorite has to be (Sorry Paul though Alaska was by far the best on my little list's list I have to go with this one) the day trip I took with my wife to the Everglades while honeymooning in Florida. The whole way down from where we were staying and while we were there at the Everglades I saw new birds. I kept pulling over the car going, "Look honey I think thats a new life list bird." Good thing we were now married and she couldnt call me a nerd and run away.

3. My Dad taught me to love the outdoors. Though we lived in Baltimore which is a big east coast city he always took me out into the wilderness to show me how to enjoy it. So my love for birding came out of my love for being in the outdoors with my dad.

4. I have to go with the coast of Maryland. Number one its home...number two its a flyway...and number three its beautiful. Camping out in the secluded beach site called Little Levels at Assateague National Seashore and birding as the sun rises over the doesnt get any better.

5. I dont have a jinx bird. Birding can be annoying somedays and I tend to stop birding and just enjoy the hike or walk so as not to get frustrated over nothing really. A jinx bird would only add something else annoying to an otherwise nice activity of walking, hiking or birding. Plus I'm not that grade of bird nerd!

6. I'm my favorite birder. Was that too narcissistic? Did I spell that right...who cares this is about birding cant be too serious now.

7. Sure I tell non birders that I like to go out and "Bird". That term bird usually makes them go, "Huh". A lot of times they go into some story about a bird they saw and didnt know what it was, and how they wish they knew more about birds. I dont get too nerdy with it though, just casual, no bumper stickers for me...ha ha!

P. Ollig said...

Nice, Quinnie-Winnie. I love the story about the Glades. Were you with us that time we saw the Arctic Warbler on the Denali Highway? I don't remember if we saw it when you were with us or not...

And get yourself a blog, dude!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Paul!
Aunt Carolyn just looked at your blog and really liked the hummingbirds. She had never seen a hummingbird bdfore she arrived here today!
Sonja won't like having BRDSTUD for a license plate. How about BRDGRL?
Love, Mom A

James said...

Remember you're top nerd not me so I dont need a blog. Plus im moving back home near my family in three weeks. If I was staying way out here in the west then maybe I would consider a blog. But then again my parents dont have a computer in the house so what would it matter.

Sandra said...

This is a great blog. I don't even remember how I found you but I have been lurking for a while. I like the meme and will answer over on my page and send it off to some other birders I know. Thanks for the fun and all the great posts.

Sandra said...

oh, I forgot that my blog dosen't automatically like here. The address is

Steven said...

Intersting I ever stumbled on to much for a search on "wandering tattler." Looks like you've been a ranger in quite a few places. How's Az? After 30 yrs in AK I think I'm getting ready for a change, although it only takes me about a week before I want to get back to AK