Friday, October 13, 2006


Knowing the difference

The deadline for having all of our content in for the new web site is right here, and I have been literally up to my elbows in everything birds this week. Bird pictures, every issue of BIRD TALK from this year, species lists, excel sheets, ect.

In my last entry I talked about how I’m learning about birds. I’m still no where near a bird expert, but I can proudly say that I am starting to be able to pick out certain birds. I had to look through a lot of photos to record down which bird species we had pictures for. I made a game out of it and used the pictures like flash cards. I would look at the bird, take a guess on which species I thought it was, and then flip it over to see if I was correct. After four days of doing that, I was pretty excited that I could tell a white-bellied caique from a sun conure. Of course, anyone that owns one or the other knows the obvious color difference anyway, but for me, who had no idea that those species of birds existed, I was proud of this latest accomplishment in bird identification.

I noticed it last week when I was at the ice cream parlor with my sister. The coffee shop across the way had a picture of a big red bird displayed in the window. I took a look at it and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “That is a green-winged macaw.” My sister looked at me strange and then said “Thanks for the bird lesson Crys.” Sarcasm was the tone, but it didn’t really bother me. When I came into work the next day I looked through my bird informational resources to see if I was right. I was, and it was yet another gold star moment.

Even more exciting to me is looking through the photos that BIRD TALK readers send in. Part of my intern duties is to moderate the message boards on the BIRD TALK magazine web site. After reading through the posts over the last five weeks I’ve started to piece together pet bird’s names, what species they are, and which user name they belong to. Not perfectly, keep in mind, but a few have stuck hard.

I was looking through some of the back issues to check on the spelling of species names when I came across some reader’s photos. I looked at the bird’s names that had been provided and it all clicked together. I know those birds! OK, not exactly personally know them, but I knew of them. It was like recognizing that your favorite celebrity was sitting two tables down from you at a restaurant. Well, it was exciting to me.

In the beginning, I joked with my friends that I was going to know all the basics about birds that there was to know. I’m starting to change my view, however, that it is not a joke. I’m slowly realizing that I’m only halfway through my internship and I have already learned so much. Pretty good for not knowing anything about birds, don't you think?


It's not easy learning all the different species! I'm learning myself as I'm photographing our people's pet birds. There are a lot out there to learn about.
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