I have to hand it to those birders that I've seen stalking the island in various areas and numbers. I see them looking off in one direction and can't help but look too, but I can't for the life of me spot what it is that has them so fascinated! How can they tell a chickadee from a warbler? How can they spot them amongst all those branches and leaves? How do they know that the various chirps, squawks and trills belong to what bird?
Hearing about how Pelee Island is famous across North America for the diversity of birds that live or visit has certainly got me interested. I mean, one of my favourite authors and her author-turned-bird-aficionado husband are heavily into the birding scene on the island - this is a big deal!
I am determined to learn more. I now scour the internet for information about PIBO, Canadian Migration Monitoring Network, pictures of birds listed as being sighted on Pelee, you tube videos. I am scouring the bookshelves at the local thrift store and staring at the trees and shrubbery to see what I can spot, asking whoever's with me - did you see this? Did you hear that? Did you find a good book?
We debate - is that a red-tailed hawk flying up above or a turkey vulture? Is it an eagle? I can certainly identify the cardinal that sits on my side view mirror at work "decorating" it with a generous layer of poop.
I can also identify the beautiful great blue heron that share the beach across from my cottage and I now know that it is not a "white heron", but an egret that accompanies the blue ones from time to time.
The terns, gulls, cormorants, red winged black birds and ??? bless us with a symphony of sound as the sun rises and I sip my morning coffee all wrapped up in a cozy blanket quietly thanking the universe for those moments.
Oh and those pheasants that we cheered on for evading the hunters as they waddled past our window late last fall!! Go you rebel escapees!!
Hmmm....I guess I have been learning more than I realized!
So many birds...so little time... Ah, but alas - there may be hope on the horizon. Stay tuned and we will see...