20 July 2006

I'm Not Your Birdman

I'm not a birdwatcher or anything like it. Never really understood people who walk around and "look" at birds.
What the hell is that? You're looking at birds? Are you some kind of fair-feathered peeping Tom?
Anyway, I was cycling through a
bird sanctuary near UCSC the other day and for about 160 feet, a Peregrine Falcon and I were on the same trajectory, at the same speed and we made eye contact a couple times. We both knew neither was in danger of the other. Don't know which of us was more interested in the other.

The falcon was about 12 feet to my right, exactly parallel. It was kinda cool, because it's never happened before. It eventually veered off and dove toward something in the lower-lying bushes off a cliff below us. I had just begun to count the feathers around his eye when he diverted. Beautiful hunter, it was.

My gut says that these birds are so used to passive people getting near them that the birds have allowed the distance between them and humans to decrease over time. I just happened to be pedaling my ass through the sanctuary. Didn't even know it at the time, until I later passed a group of about 14 lethargic people with binoculars on the trail.

I have captured images of predatory birds in the backyard here. But, I don't actively seek them out in the wild. This character responded to the distressed cries and tried to get my neighbor's uncaged parakeet.
Still doesn't make sense to me. It would only take one person to count birds, if that was the goal. They weren't taking pictures. Just "looking". There's gulls, cormorants, a bunch of different seabirds, whatever. They're birds. If they were all falcons, or all eagles, etc., then I could appreciate their sense of wonder.

Wouldn't it just be easier to shoot one of each and have the taxidermist deliver them to a museum in some central location for everyone to see?

This is not the same --->


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