Do you know what I mean? That bird. The one that no matter how many times you see it, you're reminded of the joy that this hobby brings you. You're reminded why you travel all over the state/region/country/wherever it is you go just to watch birds. You're reminded of the first time you can remember birding, the first time you realized that you found something you enjoyed, that you were passionate about. Do you have a bird like that? I have one.
The funny thing, for me, is I thought it would be an owl of some sort... and while owls are my favorite group of birds, they aren't that bird. While I get the joy and excitement from seeing owls, they just aren't the bird I'm speaking of.
I bet you're dying to know which bird that is for me.
Well, this post was inspired when Chris Collins of Birding Beavercreek told me he posted a photo of that bird on his (very awesome!) blog. I miss that bird. My old home was close to two wildlife areas that bird nested in. Before my circumstances changed and I was forced to relocate to a different state, I looked forward to watching babies of that bird grow. Now, I miss out on that bird until the winter months. Maybe it will make it all the more special when I finally see that bird again.
Which bird is it? Still don't know?
Are you surprised? Most non-birders would think I'd choose something like a raptor, or a colorful bird such as a Painted Bunting. Nope. My heart belongs to the Sandhill Crane.
Have you ever watched these birds? Gorgeous, yet awkward... which makes them incredibly endearing. Their gargling trumpet call, their statuesque beauty... no other bird in the eastern United States is quite like the Sandhill Crane.
Every single time I made a trip to Funk Bottoms or Killbuck Marsh, I'd find at least one. Like this one I got within 30 feet of on a rough marsh trail:
Gorgeous, isn't he?
Or these guys hanging out in the fields at Funk Bottoms:
I'm not sure there's another bird out there that compares, short of another type of crane. I'm not exactly sure what it is about that bird. But that bird made all of the birding this year worth it, and will continue to do so.
Feel free to share with me the bird that makes you feel this way (if you have one).
Until next time.
Happy birding to all of you.