Saturday, May 02, 2009

Oh, it's only a ..

The other day at Russ Pitman Park, I saw a flash of color in the trees above me and exclaimed, "There's something." Another birder standing nearby focused her binoculars quicker than I could and replied disappointedly, "Oh, it's only a Magnolia."

Only a Magnolia Warbler. Look at the photo below. How could such a stunning bird ever be described as ONLY a Magnolia?

What the person meant, of course, was that the bird wasn't a rare species of warbler, not a Cerulean or a Cape May Warbler, for example. And no doubt he had already seen several Magnolias this migration period. Still, it's hard to believe that anyone could become so blasé that they could dismiss such a beautiful bird as "only a Magnolia".

But wait a minute. If I'm honest, I have to admit that I'm sometimes equally blasé about birds. I can't begin to count the number of times I've been birding and have said, "Oh, it's only a Blue Jay" or "Oh, it's only a Cardinal." Now that I see these two birds every day, it's hard to recall how thrilled I was the first time I saw a Cardinal (in a New York backyard in 1990) and a Blue Jay (in a Fort Lauderdale parking lot in 1993).

So if I'm not careful, familiarity will breed such contempt that one day I, too, will look at a Magnolia Warbler and say, "Oh, it's only a ..."

I don't know where I got the photo. It certainly isn't one of mine. If anyone knows the source, please let me know so that I can credit the photographer.


Birdwoman said...

We do take these common birds for granted, don't we? And to think birders from other parts of the world will travel thousands of miles to see a blue jay or cardinal or mockingbird.

Jeff said...

A British birder on an Internet forum I visit told me the other day how excited he was to see a Blue Jay once on a trip to the USA, and how much he would love to see one again.

Stephanie said...