You’re not a…birder, are you?

A few weeks ago, I was hiking in the Grand Canyon.  Down at Plateau Point, I sat watching the Colorado River and ruminating on life, and a ranger walked up.  She nodded to me, and then struck up a conversation.  I wouldn’t have asked her otherwise, but since she seemed so friendly, I gestured up to a circling bird.

“That’s just a Turkey Vulture, right?” I asked.  I had been seeing them all day, and was secretly hoping that one might be a condor, which I had not yet spotted.

And of course, plenty of Turkey Vultures, each of which I thought was a condor.

She glanced up at the bird, squinted, and said, “Nah, that’s just a raven.”

I glanced at the bird, back at her, and back at the bird, “I’m pretty sure I saw white on the underside of the wings…”

“Aw, that’s just the sun,” she peered a bit more, “Yep, definitely a vulture.  In fact, I’m 90% sure that it’s a…ah…uh…”

She stared at me hard for a moment, “Say…you’re not…one of those birder types, are you?”

“Me?” I said, sweetly innocent, “Nah.  I mean, not really…well, sorta I guess.”  (This is funny in the context of these posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...)

“Oh,” she said, “Well, I’m not sure what kind of bird it is.  If anyone asks, I had no idea.  It could be any kind of bird.”  She quickly backpedaled.

“Turkey vultures aren’t very interesting anyway,” I said, without thinking.  Then, with a quick salute, I quickly escaped back to the trail.


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