APOLOGIES TO ORNITHOLOGISTS

I didn’t grow up in a place where there was much value
Placed on knowing the names of birds
The suburbs were a place to
Collect the most Nerf balls
Own the best slap bracelet
Know all the players for the Cleveland Indians

Now, older and more likely to find myself in the woods
I wonder
If having an ability to catalog
Everything you see
Makes the experience more rich
So I test it out
A tiny bird with a brown vest and a dapper little hat
Is sneaking on the path behind me
I proclaim him the Beige Throated Warbler
A stick thwarts me in the eye, to punish
So far no good

I hear a minuet of competing chirps overhead
Squint hard
See only brown blobs
I proclaim them Pestering Cuckoos
“Thrush Whistler”
“Wagtails and pippets”, these are real birds, my smartphone tells me
So I go with less conventional stuff
One hard “caw” shoots at me from the left
“FERNANDO”, I shout at him
He hops tow inches down the branch
Oh yeah, that does feel good

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