The Bird Lady (Day 7, Year 3)

Yesterday, I hiked enough to earn 12 points to my weekly points pile in Weight Watchers. I am currently on what my friend Paige referred to as a secret diet. And even though I literally just told anyone who reads Yoke about my secret diet, just know it is still secret. And everyone knows the rules with secrets: DO NOT ever tell the person whose secret you know that you know their secret. This is extremely rude and is also called blackmail. 

But, enough about secret diets and blackmail! Let’s discuss birds! 

Did you guys know that I am obsessed with birds? I love birds! I love that middle age has given me birds (less happy about the axillary fat and need for secret diets). I love that I am content to stand in very cold weather, during a snowstorm on a mountain, with 5 hours of sleep, a very grumpy heart and soul and watch an entire flock of random birds eat from a bird feeder. I love all the bird books and the Bird Buddy feeder my husband gave me for Christmas! And I love my hummingbird earrings which are 4 times the size of hummingbirds! 

I even love that I had a slightly heated discussion with a fellow bird lover over sparrows and juncos. I was the only heated one. The other bird lover is very calm and amiable, unflappable, if you will. 

I think birds are amazing found treasures. You could be simply sitting at your dining room table, thinking about how much you hate the conference call you are about to trudge off. As you begin to count all the ways in which you hate everything about your next appointment, a flash of red could catch your eye outside the window. And you look up and suddenly you are filled with wonder, because there is a red cardinal outside scaring off the little nuthatches and being all haughty. 

And then you get on the call and you laugh when some acts haughty and begin calling them “Cardinal.”

Or, you could get a strange midday call from your neighbor, which you automatically send to voicemail because you assume that is about how your mother parks her car, only to see a text pop up that says “6 wild turkeys just crashed your side yard.” And out you go, phone in hand, documenting an entire colony of wild turkeys in your yard, staring longingly at your fence and then hopping that fence and trying to get into your husband’s garage office. 

That kind of text message and bird encounter is the kind you discuss on your next conference call and become one of the reasons someone else hates the call. Someone will probably nickname you “the bird lady,” and instead of being offended, you will change your Instagram handle to this with PRIDE! 

Not everyone loves bird talk! However, everyone will eventually! It just takes time. 

My favorite birds are herons and egrets. There are two great blue herons that live at the lake near my house. I think of those two as good friends—one often pops up when I am walking and thinking and writing things in my head or listening to Double Love (the amazing podcast about the Sweet Valley High books!). He (or she? I don’t know, some friend I am!) is so tall and regal and just about the most perfect bird I’ve ever seen. 

This November, a whole rush (this is birdspeak for a group of migrating birds!) of great egrets—snowy white and tall and regal—appeared at Newton Lake. I thought for sure they were just doing a stop over and then winging it south. I stopped by every day for a week to watch them and to watch their cousin the Great Blue Heron host them in the shallows of the lake nearest the main road. Sometimes the heron would get a little pushy about where they should fish. I really thought he’d take one of their eyes out with his beak! 

But, then, like the very BEST uninvited family, the great egrets never left! I often wonder how the great blue heron feels about? I wonder if there have been any bird domestics? 

I will literally lay awake tonight wondering about this and counting the hours until I can head to Newton Lake myself and assess the bird vibe of the heron and egrets. 

Because, I am the Bird Lady, obviously.