Avian Quiz Answer – Oct 7, 2011
The final answer.
Thank you all for your good wishes on this last quiz. And great appreciation for all the guesses and answers, right and wrong, throughout these years.
For me, writing good quizzes has meant working long hard hours, researching, emailing, reading field guides, conferring with master birders around the world. After a few months, I hired three full time staff members to assist in this task. I spent many days on the road birding, leaving my wives and children at home to fend for themselves. I endured five divorces and three marriages, a weight gain of over 100 pounds and a severe case of incurable messy hair.
Well, I exaggerate. In fact, I am totally lying.
In truth, I have found that writing quizzes is an easy task. Writing good quizzes is, however, more demanding. To this day, I am unsure which I have written … quizzes or good quizzes.
But it’s a job, it pays the bills, and it has gained me the respect I so well deserve. [There I go again, lying, lying and lying. It's a good thing that this is my last quiz. Any future quizzes would probably have been filled with lies and exaggerations.]
About last week’s quiz …
I was fortunate to visit a college friend, Jon, last week. I live in the US, in New York State. Jon lives in Portland, Oregon, three thousand miles distant. A different coast, many different bird species.
The first day I was there, Jon immediately drove me to a local elementary school where hundreds of people were sitting on an inclined lawn, all watching the school chimney and an empty sky.
And then the swifts started to appear. Seemingly out of nowhere. Bunches and bunches appeared. Hundreds, and then finally thousands of Vaux’s Swifts, flew in for the night’s roost.
The local Audubon Society had a display table set up with information. The representative told me that at the peak this year, there were about 9,000 individuals. We were a bit past peak, and so the numbers were down to a few thousand.
A Cooper’s Hawk found dinner there at least once, scattering the twirling mass of swifts. Finally, at 7:10pm, the first of the swifts dove into the chimney, the rest swirling madly in the skies above.
The audience cheered on every pass of the Cooper’s Hawk. And they cheered on every swoop of the swifts into the chimney. An excellent evening, perfect weather, and a quick walk to a Portland Italian restaurant.
What more could one want?
Thank you to Corey and Mike for the opportunity to blog with the premier bird bloggers in the world. And thanks to the excellent and charming Beat Writers, who I hope to meet at some point down the road, and most of all, thanks to our enthusiastic readers.
Good birding, good blogging and good reading to you all.