Monday, June 4, 2018

Bum Birding... could be defined a number of ways. It could be birding that is done with such dedication and reckless abandon--especially at expense of one's personal hygiene and presentability--that one comes to resemble a bum, a ragamuffin, a bird-obsessed junkie willing to do dubious things for a quick hit of White-tailed Ptarmigan. It could also be birding as a mooch, bumming rides, bumming cigarettes, bumming gear, bumming IDs and even lifers. It could also just be birding while homeless. In my case, bum birding is birding from the bum, from the seat of the pants, from the decumbent derrière. Technically right now I am also homeless, so there's that too.

Condo repairs & painting, packing and shipping, child-rearing...these are the enemies of good birding. While Team B's Bs eventual route east will take us through some potential birding spots (hello Appalachia!) the AZ birding seems to be going quietly into that goodnight. Reenter bum birding, also known as "geriatric birding" or "Geri birding" in the more scientific circles. I would gladly (well maybe not gladly) trade this bum birding for any of the aforementioned varieties, but until such times as better opportunity presents itself, I must settle to whispering softly with Lovebirds and cooing with Doves.


Many Rosy-faced fledglings are now well into adolescence, fully formed powerful flyers and screechers, if still more peach-faced than rosy-faced. This one has also lost the black band the young birds usually are sporting on the base of their bills, but it's 'rose-face' is still more 'rosacea-faced'.


White-winged Doves have been pouring into the valley since March, and at this point their numbers are truly staggering, as are their droppings. Now begins the heated WWDO breeding scene, as Phoenix neighborhoods become debauched spectacles of tail-lifting doves spreading degeneracy (and more WWDOs) all about them.


Just think, most Americans do not get to pick up Inca Doves when they are doing any kind of bum birding, or birding in general. I shall be among this number soon. Here's one for you and me, most Americans:

Bum birding of this sort is pretty low stakes: low risk and low reward. But all is fair in love and war, so always watch your back, or have someone watch it for you. Or, actually, have someone scratch your back, or even your bum; that's really the bum birding ticket!