Why I dislike ornithology

As D. and I strolled past the duck pond this afternoon by the paired mallards, it ocurred to me why I disliked birding so much as a small child. I explained that the green shiny male mallard was chattering at the canada goose to “leave off his wife” as the goose ‘goosed’ (literally! he bit her ass) the female mallard. All the male birds get the pretty colors, the irridescent feathers, and the flashy style. I wanted the girl birds to be pretty, and they weren’t. The female of the species was always fat, brown, and dowdy looking, the antithesis of everything that I wanted in a bird. Consequently, we went on bird watching trips looking for all the male birds, which left me rather uninterested in the entire process.

A friend recently observed that “for you, it’s all about aesthetics” and yes, I think that’s a very astute observation. It pervades most of my thinking, this concept of “style.” And not speaking as a preference for the strictly “beautiful” either, but something that pleases my own twisted, quixotic, aesthetic preferences. Sometimes my distraction over appearances (font styles, clothing, food) gets me into trouble when I’d rather do other things than work, but I figure that’s just one of the pitfalls inherent in said obsession.

That said, I still managed to absorb a ridiculous amount of bird trivia over the first 13 or so years of existence, so I suppose it wasn’t all for naught. My parents would be proud. =)


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