In case you need a recap of the latter article, I was in the kitchen when I heard a bird crash into the window. That bird happened to be a Golden-Crowned Kinglet. I was quite thrilled to be able to hold a Golden-Crowned Kinglet, which are fairly uncommon birds on most levels; that is most non-bird watchers have probably never seen one, because you generally have to look for them to find them. But now my list of birds that I have held goes up one more species.
Of course, I have held American Robins before; who hasn’t held a young robin right out of the nest? I’m sure that most of us, bird watchers and non-bird watchers alike, have. But have you ever held an adult robin? Most probably have not. But today, for the first time, I did. There is actually something quite thrilling about holding adult birds instead of young ones (I guess because the young ones really can’t get away that easily if they want to, unlike the adults).
This adult American Robin beaned itself on the front windows of my house today.
If you are counting fledglings, I have a quite respectable list of birds that I have held: Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Bluebirds, American Goldfinches, House Finches, and etcetera. But adult birds? That list is more impressive by species, but not by number. And by that I simply mean that while I have held less species of adult birds, I have held more impressive species. This list includes Carolina Chickadees, American Gold Finches, House Finches, Pine Siskins, Golden-Crowned Kinglets (I have a feeling there were other neat species that I have held as adults that I cannot remember), and now (less impressive, I know) an American Robin.
There is something quite different about holding adult birds. Unlike young birds, they generally have a choice if you hold them or not, and their choice is almost exclusively that they will not be held.This makes it, special, shall we say? True, like young birds, all of the adult birds that I have held really don’t have a say in the matter either. This is because they have either bonked themselves senseless on a window, or because they have become stuck in my bird feeder. But still, it is different. It is neater.
Perhaps it is the ‘scientist’ in me (if indeed there is any scientist in me), but I always find myself wanting to carefully document everything about the bird and then compare it to what I find for that species in my field guides and on the internet. I want to photograph, weigh, and measure the specimen before it is well enough to try to get away. Perhaps I am just odd in this way, though. I also take nest monitoring to the next level by recording literally everything about the nest, not to mention that I measure and weigh any eggs that do not hatch. And I carefully look over all of my data and compare it to the ‘norms’ in field guides and internet sources. But I digress…
There is a special, neat, even exciting feeling in holding a bird, especially adults. If you never have held an adult bird before, you are seriously missing out on a great experience.