Lone trail.

Dogs can be lousy bird-watching companions.

I walked a trail this morning, alone. Because it was just me with no dog, I was able to go slow and use binoculars on birds I saw.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker. An out-of-season Belted Kingfisher over the unfrozen river. A Red-winged Blackbird with no red on its wings. Two kinds of nuthatches. All seen close up.

When I’d walked this same trail with my dog a while back, she set the pace, and I couldn’t stop to get my fists around binoculars.

(Two fists around binoculars…one reason behind this website’s name).

Yeah, the dog kept us moving fast, and we made noise, too. Speed and noise are the enemies of two-fisted bird watching.

Today, I was without the dog. And I had the birds.

Actually, that was small consolation. I’ve seen these birds before, and I’ve seen them a lot. I like seeing them, and want to keep seeing them on this or any trail for as long as I can.

But my dog wasn’t with me because she’s gone now.

And the thought occurred: On this winter morning, I’d rather have been with a lousy bird-watching companion.

Screw the birds. It would’ve been nice to be with the dog.

14 Responses to “Lone trail.”

  1. Kim S. says:

    Mike, Sorry for your loss. We lost a 17-year old cat in December. I really feel your pain. P.S. Just discovered your site and am enjoying your writing style. Just subscribed. Thanks.

  2. Bill Webb says:

    Just blown away. I had to have my wife read it herself. No way I could have gotten through it in a manly, two-fisted way.

  3. Nina says:

    My first springer, adopted at a year old, pointed a scarlet tanager during our first walk together–what a guy. My current springer sidekick is way more interested in tennis balls than birds, but he gets me out in the field daily, no matter what, so I have seen many birds because of his companionship. I share your loss and wish you…the joy of remembering.

  4. Scottie says:

    Sorry about your loss. I have been blessed by six wonderful buddies in my life and have had to let five of them go. All were different and wonderful in their own way. My current buddy will never make a bird watcher, she is too full of it for her own good and mine, but she still drags me along on our walks. Thank goodness my dear friend can walk me. Get another one right away; you sound
    like a fellow who deserves a dog. Like your Blog. Thanks

  5. F.K. says:

    Can’t “like” that post on Facebook. Can’t stop crying. So sorry.

  6. Lee Dager says:

    Sorry you lost your dog. It’s always tough losing an old friend, I hope you have lots of good memories to get you through. Dogs rule.

  7. Anne says:

    No companion like a dog. Enjoyed your post as it made me think of my faithful pals of yesteryear and today.

  8. Helen Fogel says:

    I’m a dog person too {and birds and cats and being unselfish enough to allow room in the wild for everything else.)
    Soon, I hope you’ll be ready to give a new dog a home. There are lots out there looking for one. h

  9. Mike Bush says:

    Hate it for you, Pal. New reader w/an old dog.


  10. I get frustrated with my energetic Vizsla (a good-looking pointer-retriever breed), but will think of your post next time she jerks at the leash just as I focus. Sorry about your loss. Good post

  11. Peg Callihan says:

    Sorry your good dog is gone. She looks like a lovely friend. There is a heaven for dogs where they can run, play and ignore all manner of birds.

  12. JoyAnn savino says:

    …my heart goes out to you, your dog will always be by your side when you are birding…jumping playing and showing you all the good ones.

  13. Joel Wilcox says:

    I sympathize. My dog is 14; it’s going to be very strange.

  14. Marc D. says:

    Birds are dandy for a blog
    But there aint no pal like a faithful dog.