Archive for May, 2013

Where you find ‘em.

Friday, May 10th, 2013

A while back, you were in a Chicago bar. Through an alley window you saw a fairly uncommon Eastern Towhee.

There were some city weeds among the cracked pavement there. Still, you wouldn’t go in that alley to see birds. Maybe you’d go to see rats.

But when it comes to birds, you gotta expect the unexpected. Birds are found where you find them.

Same thing goes for finding two-fisted birdwatchers.

You know a guy, six-one, two-twenty, mostly muscle. Played starting center years ago in high school. He’s been known to scare bouncers in night clubs.

These days he’s into the wife and kids, pizza, workouts, real estate deals. Not exactly the old-school image of a birder.

(We don’t like the old-school image of birders. That’s what this website is all about).

Today you got an email from this guy with some excitement in it. He wrote: “Hey, just saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird out my bedroom window!”

Little bird. Big guy. Is it surprising that he cared? Hell, no. Two-fisted birdwatchers, like birds themselves, are found where you find them.


Ducks ain’t birds.

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

The views expressed by guest essayists do not reflect the opinions of Two-Fisted Birdwatcher or anybody else for that matter. Especially when the guest essayist is the recurring Bob Grump. But we still publish his stuff, whether we agree with him or not. And besides—the guy’s just playing with us. Or is he?

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Ducks ain’t birds.

By Bob Grump

They’re ducks. Geese ain’t birds, either. And neither are seagulls. Chickens sure as hell ain’t birds. Don’t care about ‘em at all. Loons ain’t birds. Now you might be thinking I’m one of them. A loon.

A duck butt not a bird in my book!

I wouldn’t blame you, because all that stuff I just said is loony. But it makes sense to me.

Coots ain’t birds, either. And you might think I’m one of them, although you’d have no way of knowing if I’m a coot or a loon.

Looniness and being a coot go together, most of the time. But not always.

But, where was I?  Oh yeah, if ducks and the like ain’t birds, then what ARE the real birds? Hold on. I’ll get to that.

I’m a guy who spends half his life in wild parts of the upper Midwest. I walk through weeds, into woods, along lakeshores and up and down rivers.

I get mosquito bites, ticks dig me, I get scratched by thorns and I get covered with those sticky burrs that come off plants I wade through. I’ve seen bears, but mostly their ass ends because bears like to run off when I’m comin’.

I watch a lot of birds when I’m out in the sticks. And they ain’t ducks!

They’re bird-shaped honest to Pete birds that look like birds. Robins, swallows, thrushes, woodpeckers, hawks, meadowlarks, bobolinks, kingbirds, orioles, tanagers, bluebirds, finches, sparrows, you know what I’m talking about: real birds.

When I’m out in the wild and I see a real bird there, say a Brown Thrasher, I figure, awright! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

"A Dick what...?"

I have started thinking of myself as a two-fisted birdwatcher, thanks to your Johnny-come-lately web magazine of this name.

You are two-fisted in some ways I guess. (I like the picture of  booze on your Facebook page).  But in other ways you’re smartass, talkin’ about books and all.

Still, when I hold binoculars in my scratched-up scabby old two fists, and I see some real birds, I do get a two-fisted kick. Wanted you to know that, pal.

It’s not because the birds I see are unusual, either. Although sometimes they are. Hell, I saw a Dickcissel. A bird with a stupid name that I commented about in an earlier guest essay.

No, I get a kick because real birds are little bits of red, white and blue freedom.

Now, okay, you duck lovers, you seagull lovers, you coot, loon and goose lovers—you’re probably sayin’….what the hell!

How about these birds you like so much? They’re free, and sorta colorful, too. I refuse to argue about this. All I’m sayin’ is that they don’t do it for me.

For me a bird is a bird that looks like a bird. I wouldn’t walk across the street to look at a duck. I’d walk across a mountain to look at a Clark’s Nutcracker, though.

That’s how it is, as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t care if anybody likes it or not. I’m going birdwatching now, not duckwatching, so enough talk.