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.
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?”
“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.