Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kind Of Like Lindsay

Viewing 2008's Bird Of The Year caused a severe loss of mental faculties.

Lists. Lists are fun to make....almost any kind of list. Top records of the year, top books of all time, top lovers, worst movies, etc. Hell, if I had a kid, the only thing I would look forward to was making a list of names for it before it was born. That, and making it pay for my retirement home when I go senile.

Birders, of all people, know the joy of a good list. Ive done a lot of them myself. The life list, the ABA list, the state list, the county list, the year list, the county year list, the state year list, the yard list, the "birds I have seen while on drugs" list, the meatlifer list (this is a good one), etc. A lot of birders hany many, all, or even more of these lists running at the same time. An obsessive compulsion to increase these various leasts tends to lead to a lot of time driving around and wasting fuel and polluting a bunch, but thats for another time.

Over the years, as whiskey has become more prominent in my life and birds not as much, I have stopped keeping track of a lot of these lists....I might take it up again when Im older, but for now a lot of them have been put out to pasture. Yes, nerd-sacrilidge, I know. So I am not going to bust out any crazy list totals for this year (if I was in ubernerd phase I would wait until January 1 to do this, of course), but I will simply announce my Bird of the Year award. This prestigous manifestation of chronic dorkdom has been bestowed upon many of my more exotic avian friends who have wandered into the United States....in 2007 it was a toss-up between the Flame-colored Tanager in Madera Canyon and Black-capped Gnatcatcher at Patagonia Lake (both of which were kind enough to meet up with me again this year), and in 2006 it was the Smith's Longspur at a ditch by the Calipatria Prison, which topped off a longspur Grand Slam (all four species) that had landed right in front of me. As for 2005.....well, lets just say it was a bit blurry. Did I go to Texas? Maybe Hawaii? Anyways, you get the point.

So, to cut the shit, this year's Bird Of The Year Award goes to......

The Tufted Flycatcher in Arizona! All right! Give him a big hand! Our Mexican friend here gets the honors for several reasons:

1) Its a rare bird! Very fucking rare! This is only the 4th one ever to be found north of Mexico. The chances of me happening to be in the area when one of these shows up in the United States is similar to me meeting Lindsay Lohan in a club and going back to her place to blow lines and exchange STDs all night long. Not that I really want to do this, it just seems unlikely.

2) Almost no one else saw it the day I was there. There was a bunch of people glumly standing around when I showed up, who were not trying very hard to find it. They were about as full of life as what I flush down the toilet every morning after some coffee.....but perhaps they were just catatonically depressed from not being able to see it yet. I found the bird a ways off from everyone else, and only one other dude got to see it afterwards.

3) I found it myself. Well, not really, but no one showed it to me at least. Big ups to me.

4) I tracked it down down by song even though I had no idea what it was supposed to sound like. Yes.

5) It was very cooperative and cute as shit. I dont know why Toys R Us doesnt stock little stuffed Tufted Flycatcher dolls, if they did I would probably sew one on to every piece of clothing I had, for reasons I cant begin to explain

There's pictures and vocal recordings of this particular bird here, http://www.azfo.org/gallery/TUFL_Chiricahuas_Benesh_20080506.html, if you are interested in checking it out.

I dont really plan on seeing anything else this month that is as capable of causing a seizure as this bird was, but maybe next year......winter is upon us, and a wayward Snowy Owl, Ivory Gull or other angelic bird could do me a lot of good.....and you too.


  1. Tufted Flycatcher....SORRY BASTARD!! I hope you took a shot of Jim Beam after!!! Sorry Bastard!

    Good job, Tucker!

  2. Actually, it's Fowler not Jenn-special education teacher....