"Ya know, Randy - you embarrass the whole birding community when you do that."
"Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"Recently, I posted about Great Blue Herons getting really touchy with each other while feeding. These are the same herons, one of them actually committing a feeding. I say 'committing,' because this looks like a crime of ungainliness, a felony of spasticity for sure. I had guessed that they were juveniles. Besides their feathering, this behavior is one of the things that made me think they were young. The one on the right, Randy was standing, then suddenly lurched forward falling on his face. Give the guy credit, at least he didn't just fall from the sky. I have never seen herons do this. They usually stand poised to strike and will remain in that fixed position for quite a while before striking the water with a deft, spearing move. There was nothing smooth about Randy's technique, he looked ridiculous! I guess everybody has to start somewhere when they are learning to do something new. Few beasts nor men are born as prodigies. Most of us have to do a thing over and over before we can dependably execute the move.
I also have written recently, and more than a few times, about some of the not so patient nor benevolent folks in the birding world. To be honest and fair, though, I have too also say that there are some really great people in birding, too. I have had the pleasure and good fortune to meet numerous of them. And, I met them by way of the Internet. The Internet is an entity which also gets a bad rap, as if it has a soul and a face and is somehow evil. Like the birding 'community,' the Internet is what you make it, good, bad or otherwise. Had it not been for birding, the Internet and birders who use the Internet, I would not have met these very cool people, nor learned nearly as much as I have. All of these people know more about birding than I'll ever be lucky enough to forget. They are experts with a capital 'E.' They have, in fact, walked out on mudflats and mountain tops with me, to see what we could see and to teach me. They treated me with courtesy, positive regard and made me feel that I had something to bring to birding. They have been very giving and patient. In short, they've watched me thrash around like a juvenile heron learning to catch my first fish without laughing or giving up on me. Now, if only I had legs as long as a heron and would stop falling down on the birds while I work on my identifications, the world would be a just and better place.
Thank you, Mike and Paul, Mark and John, Jo and every one who has held my hand and helped me up.