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Trash birds?

House Finches, Common Grackles, Black-capped Chickadees are common, but almost everybody overlooks these “trash birds.”In our fast-paced American mindset, we fly by these birds as we try to find Cassin’s Finch, the Shiny Cowbird or the Boreal Chickadee. But the whole time there might be a “lifer” 20 feet behind you, and all you saw was the 30th flock of Yellow-Rumped Warblers. You didn’t even think to check for a Canada Warbler.How many of you have officially seen the new “Richardson’s” Goose? Who knows how many times one has been right in front of me as I ignored a flock of Canadas while trying to view that Hooded Merganser? Oh, the miserable life of a lister.A lister is a person who won’t even look at a grackle, despises robins and is part of the “Mallards are No Good” club. He checks the rare bird alerts about every hour.When I consulted the “Field Guide to Birdwatchers” (I own the only copy), I found the Northern Lister’s (Nefariousis listerus) most common vocalizations: “It’s JUST a robin” “Come on!! Let’s keep going!” “What’s the big deal about a _________?”In the guide is a story about a die-hard Northern Lister who was pulled over by a state patrol officer and fined for going 100 mph as he attempted to get to a rare bird 200 miles away (I may be forgetting something but I think it was a Yellow-Nosed Albatross somewhere above timberline in the Colorado Rockies). Unfortunately, when he frantically arrived following the police delay a group of birders told him that the bird had just coasted over the next mountain. Suddenly, the birder’s – sorry, lister’s – Palm Rare Bird Alert Device started beeping, and when he whipped it out, he took one look, gasped, jumped in the car – you get the picture.I don’t understand. If you’re going to be a birdwatcher, watch all the birds and not just the rare birds; otherwise, you’ll miss many birds.How should you go about birding? I believe in taking it slow. I invariably see the most birds, if I just sit down and watch. I may not see anything “exciting” or rare, but it sure is more enjoyable than wearing myself out walking all over the place trying to see something “exciting.”I can guarantee if you slow down you will see something interesting: maybe a raptor in action or two males fighting over a territory. Maybe you will see a bird fly into a tree, thus revealing its nest. Or maybe you’ll just have a lasting memory of sitting in the woods with clouds drifting overhead through the brilliant blue sky while the birds sing unseen in the tops of the trees. As they say, “All great things are simple.” Take a deep breath, and love chickadees for what they are – beautiful, living bundles of energy. They’re worth watching.

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