One of the dumbest pursuits imaginable involves bird watching. Who in their right mind willingly plods through insect-infested fields and develops severe neck strain just to gaze at those flying rats?
Birds ought to either on the business end of a shotgun or within the pages of an Audubon coffee-table book – not causing airplane crashes or despoiling car finishes. The aerial poopers also leave their unsightly markings on statues, piers, shirts and hats. And have you ever been downwind of a rookery? Revolting.
A bird once ruined my lunch. While attending a conference, I artfully positioned myself near the head of the line as the outdoor buffet commenced. After selecting a generous portion of ribs and fixings, I hadn’t yet reached a table when an unwanted present fell from above and splattered the plate. I swear that blasted seagull cackled at me as it flew on.
Birds also possess no manners. Just watch a feeder filled with seeds and bear witness to all kinds of bullying and rudeness. Some of them also raid others’ nests and eat their young.
Bigger feathered friends like ostriches have been known to kick people in the chest and eagles often dive-bomb us with talons flared.
No wonder Hitchcock’ movie “The Birds” scared the daylights out of everyone.
The pea-brained animals also can’t be too bright because we’ve all heard the familiar taunt of calling someone a bird brain.
Sure, their ability to fly makes us envious, but it’s equally a turn-off that females look bland while colorful males strut around as if in a Mardi Gras parade. And all that talk about the birds and the bees is folly.
Who would want to make love on a bed of sticks 30 feet in the air?
Bird watchers are an odd lot themselves. They tend to wear kaki shorts, flared shirts and over-size boots that give away their presence to even the most near-sighted branch dwellers.
With binoculars and cameras dangling in front, a bulging backpack in tow and an “Idiots Field Guide to Birds” in hand, a bird watcher becomes more of a source for entertainment than either Daffy or Donald Duck.
Despite all the malarkey about bird watching, I admit that it’s a crying shame to see creatures that can soar through the air imprisoned in a dingy cage and relegated to sitting on a peg its entire life.
Maybe it’s high time to end such injustice and free all winged animals from captivity. Of course that would mean only getting to see birds in the wild, and maybe that’s not such a terrible pursuit after all.
What’s the cost these days for a good pair of binoculars?
Doug Kelly, a resident of Clearwater, is a book author and successful freelance writer who’s worked on the editorial staffs of state and national magazines. He’s a member of several media organizations as well as the Society of American Travel Writers.