Sunday, June 12, 2011

When We're Not Feeling Strong, We Grab The Mic And Sing Along

This Magnolia Warbler found a loaded spider web and was plucking bugs out. Free meal, sick noms.

Hello watchers of birds. I'm still here in North Dakota, of all places.

People don't understand North Dakota. I mean, not North Dakotans, I'm talking the rest of the world. It's not that North Dakota is particularly weird or drastically different from the United States (aside from the intense love of Jesus)...I mean, its not Black Rock City out here if you know what I'm saying. It's that almost no one has been here. It just doesn't have any draw to the average mountains, no beaches, no fantastic metropoli or fertile music or art scene, the weather is usually too hot or too cold...its not a Goldilocks climate. As far as I can tell, North Dakota does not have a reputation for anything. It is the state of mystery. It doesnt even have any sort of stigma like the south (for the rest of the country) or California (for the south). It just confuses people because it never enters anyone's mind.

As far as I know, there is only one reason to come here...birds.

American Goldfinch. Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom.

There's two sides of this though. There are plenty of ducks, geese, grouse, pheasant...cranes...plenty of that stuff here, and there is no shortage of people here who hunt them. I'm not sure how many hunters come in from out of state to do their shooting, but it's got to be a sizeable number. So that's probably the majority of people who are enthusiastic about birds here. They want to kill shit.

Then, as you can guess, there are the birders. They come for the pipits, the sparrows, the longspurs, the prairie birds that you can't find on either coast, or most of the world, for that matter. That is why I am here. We just finished with a small birding festival here at the refuge that I'm pretty sure does almost no advertising, and it still drew in birders from both coasts. I don't think

Warbling Vireo, of the eastern flavor. It yellow.

Eastern Kingbird. It dapper.

Baltimore Oriole. Maryland's pride and joy.

What else. Oh yeah...our refuge is lucky enough to be graced with a live nuclear missile silo. I bet you don't have one of those in your backyard.  I've been in abandoned nuclear storage facilities before (as part of top-secret birding missions), but I've never been lucky enough to have a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile or two lurking down the road. Pretty crazy. According to Wikipedia, they actually carry 3 different warheads that can be deployed at the same time, so its bascially getting 3 nukes in one. What a value! So in the (hopefully) unlikely event that any of the missiles out here are ever launched, everyone and everything here will be destroyed within a few hours from retaliatory strikes. That's comforting. Fuck.

I would take a picture of the launch site but it doesn't look like anything and I would like to avoid being arrested.

And so much for that. I hope your Saturday was filled with a healthy mix of birds and hedonism. That's really unlikely, but god bless the people who can do both.


  1. It's true. North Dakota is mysterious as fuck.

  2. It's just so....North Dakotan. I don't know what else it is.