So, What Exactly Happens At Bird Conventions?

And people think birders don't know how to get down and have a good time. We have our own fun. That is not to say we don't have time for stimulating conversation about pressing bird conservation issues and the finer points of gull id and that sort of talk but after a day of getting up at unnaturally early hours to watch some great birds we like to unwind! Now that I think about it, there was quite a bit of singing going on. Jeff Bouton of Leica Optics kept trying to sing snippets of The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkle and Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood were singing a version of the song I'll Fly Away but with a birding theme. Both sang it and was just lovely. Sheri has a beautiful throaty voice that blended well with Tom. I tried to maintain some decorum by sticking to Barry Manilow songs, although I did come up with the idea of singing American Woman, but changing it to American Bittern. However, Sheri came up with a better idea of chaining it to American Wigeon so that way you could make the song into a lament of really wanting a Eurasian Wigeon...I know, I know you're thinking of that line Judd Nelson had in The Breakfast Club, "Demented and sad, but social."

I think I managed to meet Scott Weidensaul (pictured right) without scaring the dickens out of him. He was incredibly gracious and nice and I learned that he has a new book coming out in the fall. I'm really bummed that I'm going to miss his speech since I have to go back to the bird store but few minutes just shooting the breeze was pretty darned cool. He kissed my hand at the end of the evening--in a very courtly and gentlemanly way, not like a smarmy guy making a move. I think it will be at least 72 hours before I begin to think about washing that hand.
I got the coolest thing from Bill Thompson (pictured left--that must have been taken during one of the few thoughtful birding discussions we had about upper tail coverts) He has a band and he burned me a CD. They are called the Swinging Orangutans and his talented artist/writer wife Julie Zickefoose is on there too.

Wow, looking through all these photos I realized that I need to update my author sighting page, I got a few lifers this weekend with Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood and I can change Weidensaul's status from heard only to actually seen.

I've gone to my share of conventions, but I'm thinking that this ABA Convention was the best ever. It was almost as good as getting an adult female goshawk in the nets at the hawk blind.