60 birdwatchersdigest.com • JANUARY/FEBRUARY’ 17 • Bird Watcher’sdigest
ness. Each pair is the best thing
since sliced binoculars. The world
looks good through binoculars.
Take the money you’ve set aside to
give your heirs something to fight
over and spend it on binoculars.
That way you will use them often
in order to get your money’s worth.
“When geese fly in a
V-formation, why is one side longer
than the other?” Because there are
more geese on one side. Geese are
so abundant around the Batt Cave
that they fly in M-formations.
“Do fake owls keep birds
away?” Sort of. They keep other
fake owls away.
“What is it about birding?”
Birding is a combination of what
we imagine and what we’d be
unable to imagine without seeing it
first. Iris Murdoch wrote, “One of
the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” That’s birding.
And it looks cool.
“I feel uneasy using my cheap
binoculars around accomplished
birders. What can I do other than
buy new binoculars?” It sounds as
if you think your binocs are junior
varsity and shouldn’t be playing
with the varsity. Don’t worry about
that. The secret is to get playing time. I can’t imagine a card-carrying birder looking down on
you because of your binoculars. If
you run into one who does, he isn’t
worth birding with.
“My spotting scope is the size
of an army tank. I’d like to get
something lighter. What do you
recommend?” Before you get a
lightweight scope and tripod, con-
sider the exercise you will be losing
by no longer carting that battle-
hardened equipment around. It’s
your own private gym. If you’re
determined to make a change,
check out Hot Air’s new line of
inflatable spotting scopes and
tripods. They can be twisted into
“How can I keep squirrels off
my bird feeder?” The feeder of
birds is a tragic hero. Give the
squirrels what they want and
nobody will get hurt. If you must
discourage them, suspend the feed-
er from helium balloons. Be aware
that wind could blow the floating
feeder a great distance from your
yard. That accounts for most of
the rare birds spotted at feeders.
“Do you keep a list of every
bird you’ve seen?” I used to, but
my dog ate it.
“Are you taking any birding
classes?” I’m taking the Turkey
Vulture Self-defense Class through
community education. I’m learn-
ing to throw up on anyone who
“Why isn’t birding an Olympic
sport?” Synchronized birding will
be one as soon as birders decide on
“Why do so many leaves look
like birds?” Leaves are birds in
“I think birders are crazy. Are
you?” Yes. The noted philosopher,
Waylon Jennings, sang this: “I’ve
always been crazy, but it’s kept me
from going insane.”
Thanks for asking. a
Al Batt is a writer, speaker,
storyteller, and humorist. His
first book is a collection of his
stories, A Life Gone to the
Birds, published by BWD Press.