Anchored close to Ashbrigde's Bay Park in Toronto, I noticed a bright red flickering among the foliage. Not even considering shoes, I grabbed the camera, rowed ashore and felt the moisture soak through as I followed the red bird into the park. I circled the trees in my wet socks, searching for my bird, and sensed people in my peripheral vision, slowing down in their tracks, wondering.
That's when I somewhat realized that I was hooked on birds. Nina seemed to calmly add another fixation to my monomania.
This bright red bird is a Northern Cardinal, a rather common bird around parks and gardens in North-America. I didn't know that. I didn't know the Common Crackle either, or all the different warblers. I mistook a lot of birds for major discoveries.
How come I turned into a birder? I've always considered it a rather lame hobby. I've found that kind of stalking unwise, maybe even unworthy. And I've thought I could sense an undercurrent of compensation, of guilt, as birders are often men, who once were boys with slingshots and air guns. The bigger the lenses, the bigger the guilt.