Thursday, June 07, 2012

(photo by Jeff Thomsen)
This isn't about herps, but I'll use it as a platform to mock birders (affectionately, of course, some of my best friends...). I was at City Hall covering a peregrine falcon nestling banding event for my Grid Urban Naturalist column, and the broom guy was late. Adult peregrines understandably defend their nest from big humans abducting their babies, and the broom guy's job is protect the biologist using what else but a perfectly ordinary broom (note that the goal is to block, not swing). I was there with City Hall employees and several birders, but in the dragging moments that I waited after they asked, "do we have any volunteers for the broom?" none of these people, who were supposedly so psyched to be that close to one of the coolest birds in the sky (combine endangered status with fierce beauty and the fastest flying on the planet - topping 200 mph in an attack dive). This so perfectly fits the herper's sterotype of birders: content to observe quietly from behind binoculars, but unwilling to sweat much, get their hands dirty, or generally physically interact with their quarry. So, I, the only herper in the room, ended up as the broom guy, and I had what was and is likely to forever be the most exciting bird experience of my life.

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