PABU leaves me troubled, confused

Michael Hobbs Hummer at isomedia.com
Thu Mar 7 20:42:44 PST 2002


Tweets - let me "confess" that this morning, despite Steve Mlodinow's plea, I
went to see the Painted Bunting. It was, indeed, there at around 11:00 a.m.
This is a bird species that I have desired to see ever since, as a small boy, I
poured over our family copy of the Golden Guide featuring three buntings on the
cover. I can distinctly remember thinking that I would NEVER be able to see a
Painted Bunting (Texas is a LONG way from Bracebridge, Ontario).

After Steve posted, and after all of the additional discussion on Tweeters, I
decided to wait a couple of days. This morning, I parked well up the street
and strolled down to the corner. Had there been a large crowd waiting for the
bird, I would have simply walked around the block to my car and tried again
later. However, there was but a single birder waiting, and he informed me that
he was pretty sure he had caught a glimpse of the bird a few minutes earlier.
Together, we waited about 5 minutes before I spotted the bird.

WOW. Obviously, the bird is gorgeous. But far better than seeing a photograph
was seeing that a bird that colorful did NOT stand out immediately.
Individually, each piece of the bird is brilliantly colored, but the sum of the
parts really does not register as flashy without binoculars. It could skulk
amongst the ivy in relative obscurity. Yet a good look with my 10x B&Ls took
my breath away. THAT was worth observing.

I stayed only a couple of minutes after the bird appeared. I stayed long
enough to make sure my fellow birder had seen the bird (he was having trouble
picking it out, despite being only 20 feet away). I left before I really
wanted to, partly because I had "seen" the bird, and partly because I was
expected elsewhere. I was on Capitol Hill for all of 15 minutes total.

I didn't want to be a bother to anyone.

On my way back to my car, a neighbor asked me if I had seen the bird, and I
answered simply "Yes, thank you" and continued on my way. In her expression
then, and as I drove around the block to head out, it seemed to me that she was
disappointed that I had simply come to tick the bird off my list and that I
hadn't stayed long enough to gain real appreciation for the bird. (In that,
she was mistaken).

It seemed, while trying not to bother anyone, that I had bothered a neighbor by
not caring enough about lingering over the bird.

== Michael Hobbs
== Kirkland WA
== hummer at isomedia.com



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