Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What do I have in common with Spiderman?

Myrtle WarblerMyrtle Warbler, Oregon, 29 April 2011 by Greg Gillson.


Blank stares.

I might as well as have been speaking a foreign language. Perhaps I was.

This birding couple was looking at a dozen or so warblers flitting about in the oak tree. They were obviously not just "eagle watchers." They were birders.

The birds were all singing the same sweet rolling song: weevee-weevee-weevee-weevee-swee-swee-swee-swee.

Wanting to be friendly I approached this birding couple.

It was a simple enough statement. I said, "All I hear are Myrtle Warblers."

Then I got those blank stares.

"Myrtle Warblers. You know, the white-throated form of Yellow-rumped Warblers?"

"Oh," they said. And then to themselves, "Butter-butts."

As they turned and walked quickly away they said, "We don't identify birds by song." Was that a disdainful tone? I must be mistaken.

Why do I feel like Peter Parker?

Peter Parker: Some spiders change colors to blend into their environment. It's a defense mechanism.
Harry Osborn: Peter, what possibly makes you think I would want to know that?
Peter Parker: Who wouldn't?
- - - - - - -
Spiderman (2002)

Who wouldn't want to know every field identifiable form of bird?

Who wouldn't want to learn to identify birds by ear?

So, what do I have in common with Spiderman? Only Peter Parker.

Move over Peter Parker. Make room for another nerd.


  1. Great post Greg! It made my chuckle.

    I guess every body just enjoys birding in their own way. I couldn't tell a Myrtle from an Audubon Y-R Warlber yet, but then again I've never taken the time to study the sound difference either.

  2. I look forward to your usual Friday posts for the photos and educational info. It was nice to see your humorous side. Trying to remember if my husband and I might have met you while gazing up into an Oak tree recently. Nope. Glad it wasn't us!

  3. If a fellow birder loves a bird, enjoys watching the bird, but calls him butter-butt and doesn't discern songs/calls, does that make him less of a birder? Does it make you a nerd that you do? (BTW, I love the nerd that I am married to, and he doesn't recognize one bird from another at all, and only cares that I love watching them!) I think it just means you are both bird-lovers with different styles and tastes. How dull it would be if we were all the same!

  4. Robert, Shelly, Dawn. Thanks for your comments.

    Nope, Shelly, it's not them--it's me! I get so enthused that I think everyone else is interested in every minutiae too. In this post I laugh at myself, not others.

  5. Ah, it does take all kinds...butter-butts?! It sounds like they don't ID birds by any means, song or field guide! Very nice shot of 'Mr. Myrtle' anyway!