May 11th – An Interesting Conversation

Renessa with the “jewel” of the bird world. -DOL

Ah the youth of today! Renessa has just finished college and is about to launch out into the world of full-time work. Despite being an English major, she has pursued a career in environmental sciences….maybe she plans to write about it. A while ago I got a kick out of her use of the phrase: “work/life balance”….the balancing of one’s personal activity so that one doesn’t get bogged down with work or, in the other direction, with personal interests. She used this in the context of arriving later at the banding site stating her need for sleep was part of “the balance” even if the nets had to be opened before sunrise. She said this with a playful smile and I knew that if push had come to shove she would have arrived in time to open. It was the concept that I enjoyed. And it struck me that when migration is going full bore there is no time for this “balance”; you do what you need to do and hope to strike the balance after 6 weeks of hard slogging. Some young people find this a difficult fact to get their heads around. The birds don’t care; they’re focused on getting to where they have to get to and a human’s “balance” or comfort simply doesn’t enter into their equation.

So this morning (and I should mention that Renessa bakes great muffins) I was querying why she hadn’t brought any muffins. Of course, this brought us back to “the balance” and her staying up late to pursue the non-work side of it. I thought her arguments were sort of flimsy knowing the importance of muffins in fueling migration studies. I learned more though about aspects of this “balance” thing: tied in with it is the concept of “personal administration”; in Renessa’s case answering emails and sending out “administrative texts”: essentially making plausible excuses to others for not doing or wanting to do unattractive things. Interesting and informative exchange but….the bottom line: no muffins but a happy person doing net rounds and banding. She was rewarded for her non-muffin “balance” with the arrival of a stunning ASY male Blackburnian Warbler – normally a bird of conifer tree tops. I guess it, too, had come down from the heights and, spying her, was looking for muffins.

ASY male Blackburnian Warbler – jewel of the migration. -DOL

We banded 23:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 House Wren
1 Gray Catbird
1 House Finch
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
5 Swamp Sparrows
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 American Redstart

ASY male Magnolia Warbler. -RJV

1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Blackburnian Warbler
3 Yellow Warblers
1 Western Palm Warbler

Species Encountered: 46 spp.

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