No CNN in the woods.

When there was an oil spill in the gulf last year, it captured our attention. But only for a while. We almost never think about it any more.

At the time, though, it made bird watching seem like a puny thing to talk about. Not an important subject, with so much heavy news coming in every day.

Now there are the earthquake and tsunami problems in Japan. And the nuke plant problems over there.

We’d heard that our oil spill could pollute for fifty years. Japan’s nuke problem could pollute for thousands. What does this have to do with bird watching?

Nothing and everything.

Nothing, because two-fisted bird watching is escapism. There’s no CNN in the woods.

And everything, because Japan’s quake, tsunami and nuke problems bug us. They tick us off.

Go bird watching when something’s bugging you, or when you’re ticked off. Hang out in the wild for a while. Birds’ll come. They like to eat bugs. And ticks.

Like an Oxpecker cleaning the hide of a rhino, or the ears of an impala. Oxpecker. Now that’s a cool bird.

Red-billed Oxpecker de-bugging Impala

Red-billed Oxpecker de-bugging Impala

There are Red-billed Oxpeckers and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers.

Both live in Africa, and eat bugs and ticks off the animals there.

Now I’m interested in Oxpeckers. Gotta check them out. Where’s my “Birds of Africa?”

Okay, feeling good about something. At the moment, I’m no longer thinking about what’s been bugging me. Or ticking me off.

Nothing and everything: Two-fisted bird watching can have nothing to do with breaking news, and everything to do with taking your mind off it.

5 Responses to “No CNN in the woods.”

  1. Lee Dager says:

    You nailed it! That is the reason I love watching those fantastic creatures whenever I can. Things are gonna happen everyday that you could worry yourself to death about if you wanted to. Two fisted bird watching is a great way to get life back into perspective. Well, that and a little fly fishing. Thanks again for the great site! Lee

  2. Rob L. says:

    great blog post!

  3. Marc D. says:

    The nuclear aspects of the disaster in Japan remind me of the movie, The China Syndrome. I met Mike Grey when he lived in Chicago in the 1970s and one night we were together at a meeting in the Hancock Building. Grey was trying to raise money The China Syndrome, about a nuclear plant meltdown. I was there as a film writer. Eventually, Grey’s film got made with Jack Lemon, Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda…

    I enjoyed your “No CNN in the Woods”…Is bird watching like meditation? You focus on a single image, and clear the mind (if possible, not very easy) of the extraneous to concentrate exclusively on that creature you’re watching. Does it becalm the bird watcher? Does it tranquilize? Watching anything with persistent, enduring attention often has that effect. Ommmm. Marc

  4. John Wilton says:

    Never felt I wore my pants quite as high as most birders. I can’t even spell ornritholegy but am amazed by birds. Your site is down to earth and right up my alley. Please keep up the good work!


  5. sam walker says:

    I practice Nuclear Plant birdwatching One of our best local areas is the Ottawa Nat Refuge in Oak Harbor Oh. Just 2 miles west of the Davis Besse Nuke in Westen Lake Erie. I’ve had a lot of camera shots ruined by those ugly cooling towers. The Ottawa is a renowned warbler magnet at the Magee Marsh section. We go for migrant day in May and see car tags from 16 states in the lots. Enourmous siren towers ring the plant in two bordering counties They test the sirens every Spring On those wrong days you’d swear the Russians were flying in bombers. Going East of Cleveland is no better We have a sister nuke in Perry Oh near some prime bird spots. Just our luck to be bookended with ugly stuff.
    One fisted birder
    Cleveland Oh