My job is GO, GO, GO….faster… I run to 10 survey points between sunrise and 9:30 a.m. to listen for birds. The terrain is steep with many fall zones, which my pants that I’ve torn the butt out of 4 times will testify to. I rarely see a bird, which explains why all my pictures from my field season are flowers.
But I want to look upon my soul mate in a birds’ body. You know. The one that chants “pizza, pizza, pizza, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat” (Nashville Warbler). Or perhaps the lovely Olive-sided Flycatcher’s sing songy “quick three beers!” As my coworker Amy says, “birds? We have no time for birds!” And so I listen and run on to my next location.
There are trying moments when I contemplate what the Sam Hill am I doing here. When I’m scrambling through unyielding shrubs over 6 feet tall or army crawling on my belly underneath with my backpack. Or the times I walk through hundreds of spider webs so that they coat my arms, face, and hair. There are mosquitoes, snakes, illegal pot garden scary folk, and poison ivy.
Then there are the rewarding moments when I get 35 different bird species for the day, or I see a bird feeding her/his babies, or I walk up on a momma bear with her 2 cubs, or I see these lovelies…
Let’s not forget camping every night under the stars with the Sierra Mountains in the distance. Common Nighthawks and Poorwills singing me a lullaby.
Never will I forget the years spent in an office typing away my life in a career I wasn’t passionate about. So I run and crawl and listen some more.