Friday, 3 July 2009

Birds and guilt

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.

Common Crackle, female

Some sort of Warbler, male