“Did you remember to take your meds this morning?” I asked the boy about ten minutes into our birding adventure. “No, I did not. Why do you ask?” He replied with a smile. He knew why… One of the reasons the boy takes medication is to help him stay focused on the tasks at hand–such as school work or chores at home. The other, equally important reason is so he has some impulse control. Since he was very little, he’s displayed the ability to talk to us “lecture” style–that is to say, he conveys every bit of information that happens to pop into his head-relevant or not. His medication helps prevent him from going off topic. Since he chose not to take his medication that morning, we were all treated to a boy who talked loudly, giggled and sang nonstop, all along the boardwalk path at Magee Marsh.
“The first rule of birding…” the boy began to explain, “is to not be afraid or embarrassed when I ask people what the heck they are looking at.” She nodded, tho, clearly embarrassed a moment later when he asked someone what they were looking at. Then he pulled out his Sibley bible book of birds and along with another man, began paging through until they found a marker to identify the bird they saw. “You see, birding is a community sport, where everyone joins in to help the common man understand ..” He droned on and on. “Don’t you ever get tired of listening to yourself talk?” Alexa asked, causing a smile to erupt across my face; “As a matter of fact, no I do not…” He replied with a smile before I interrupted their conversation and said, “The first rule of birding is to shut up. How can you two see any birds if you’re too busy talking and scaring them away?” They both stopped talking long enough to laugh and agree before the boy couldn’t control the impulse to pick up where he left off.
Alexa, being more of a novice birder, decided to label all the birds she came across with a unique name, “You are a Whirlygiggle…” She said as she snapped the picture. “No, that’s a Downy Woodpecker…” the boy corrected. “Perhaps to you, but not to me…” She replied and continued on. “Mom, tell her to stop being annoying…” He said to me. “Bay, that’s like asking the pot to call the kettle black…” I said and they both laughed. “Be nice, she is your guest…” I added. “Yeah, and why didn’t you ask me to come along last year?” She added. “I don’t know, I didn’t think you liked this…” He said in defense. “I told you I did…” She added and started to lecture him.
I saw this as my cue to put some distance between us.
Close to the end of the boardwalk, we happened upon a pretty cool sight where three Chestnut-Sided Warblers all occupied the same virtual space. What was most remarkable about this was almost no one noticed. They were too busy trying to take the picture of a Cape May Warbler, a seldom seen bird to our area; jumping from branch to branch in the next set of bushes over. A kindly gentleman alerted us to their placement and I snapped a quick couple of pictures, before moving on. The boy, on the other hand, struck up a conversation with the gentleman about what possible conversations those three Chestnut-sided warblers might have been having. Alexa shot me an “Oh Brother!” look of exasperation as the two continued their imaginary conversation and all I could do was smile in return. Yep, that’s my boy!