Guess who got inspired...
As the end credits rolled, Maria was already drumming up our support for doing our own big year! "We should totally do that," she declared. And we nodded, sleepily, amusedly.
The next morning, armed with three bird reference books, Maria began her quest... for binoculars. She was in earnest. She couldn't find any of those, but I agreed to let her use my Little Blue Camera, and thus prepared, she set off on her big year.
Ten minutes later she came in, describing the particular song, of a particular yellow bird singing in our jacaranda trees. We studied the pictures she took, she searched her little birding book, then another. I got out the Audubon guide. She opened up Google images, and sat with her two books, comparing tail sizes, beak shapes, and geographic ranges of yellow bird species. I sat there and marveled at this child, this little wonder of curiosity and dedication. Oh my.
But we could not (cannot!) figure this one out. So, I grabbed my Big Black Beautiful Camera, joined her in the garden, and she said, in the awed, hushed tone of a birder, "Listen. That's our bird. Do you hear them?"
Yesterday we saw mallard ducks, and western bluebirds, mourning doves, and chickens. Technically, I suppose, the chickens don't count. They're wild, and free range, but not wild and free.
Maria just now walked into my office, wearing a bird print skirt and a T-shirt with an owl. Guess who wants to go birding...