basic needs are food, water, shelter, clothing, and ideas. Do you
remember being in school? I’ll bet
some of you do. Being a columnist and a radio guy is like having
a paper due every single day. I
had a number of other writing
assignments to complete and a
ton of upcoming talks to talk.
I’m like everybody else: busy. I
wanted to say “no,” but not as
much as I wanted to see the bird.
Willpower is made to crumble.
I’d traveled to Duluth earlier in
the year to see an ivory gull. A
precedent had been set. Again.
I chased a sandpiper instead of
House sparrows chirped merrily as we prepared to leave.
Observing house sparrows is a
poor man’s birding trip. Birding
doesn’t take up much room in a
car, but spotting scopes, tripods,
and a camera with a lens the size
by mosquito spray. The insect
repellent was melting the armor.
He’d tried all the normal things
to stop the destruction—ignoring
the binoculars, pretending that
they didn’t exist, washing them,
sandblasting, and exorcism. The
application of talcum powder had
made for lovely white binoculars.
I recommended using essential
lemon oil and keeping it off the
glass. It solved the problem and
the binoculars smelled terrific.
That made him smile like a game
show host. We became birding
buddies and cofounders of the
Freeborn County Chapter of the
Preservation of the Passenger
Pigeon Society. “Better late than
never” is the organization’s motto.
I’d anticipated Seymour’s call
and was prepared to say “no.” I
had work to do. I write five newspaper columns and do a couple
of radio shows each week. My
Who could resist chasing a
sharp-tailed sandpiper in