Thursday, April 6, 2006

The Well-equipped Birder

Thursday, April 6, 2006
As the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest, I am responsible for the magazine's content and editorial direction. A few years ago, we decided to add a short column to BWD, called "The Well-equipped Birder." "The Well-equipped Birder" usually profiles a product or object that somehow enhances your bird-watching experience. This could be a birding hat, some new digital gadget, a useful reference book--really anything that better equips a birder for the hobby.

About 12 years ago we added a short feature in our Backyard section, called "My Way." In this short feature, BWD readers send in their tips, tricks, and ideas for improving your backyard bird watching experience. This could include plans to build a feeder or bird house, ways to keep flour moths out of your bird seed (whole bay leaves), or how to revive an old, faded hummingbird feeder (bright pink nail polish).

During our recent Florida trip, I stumbled upon an innovation that many birders may find useful, but it did not clearly fit into either the "Well-equipped Birder" or "My Way" so I decided to share it with you here, in Bill of the Birds.

Julie and I walked from our hotel on Sanibel Island, Florida, to the lovely white-sand beach to watch the sunset. In addition to all of our birding gear, Julie had a plastic cup of merlot and I had an unopened bottle of pale ale. We got to the beach, saw that the sunset was not yet starting, so we decided to have a toast.

J: "Here's to leaving the cold, gray skies of southeastern Ohio behind for a few days!"
B: "Wait this isn't a twist-off cap!"
J: "And to our sweet babies. We miss them, but they are being well cared for!"
B: "I...can'!"
J: "And to having our toes in the Gulf of Mexico once again!"
B: "I'm going to run back to the room..."
J: "You'll miss the sunset!"
B: "You're right. I need to think like MacGyver!"

Normally, I'd use my belt buckle--opps no belt on these swimming trunks. Couldn't use my binocs. But the scope tripod! Nope, no likely spots on this new, carbon-fiber and incredibly light Bogen Manfrotto tripod. But wait?

To fit our scope onto the new tripod we had to add a scope plate! Eureka! Out came the scope, I turned it over, popped the bottle cap off nice as you please. And we got back to our toasting.

B: "To MacGyver, wherever he may be!"
J: "To Desperation: the mother of all invention!"

Plastic hotel room keychains cannot open beer bottles.

But the angled foot of a scope plate is perfect!

Me happy. Birds, Bare feet. Beer. Sun go down. Ragnar go back to cave.


On April 7, 2006 at 10:53 AM Anonymous said...

A+ for creativity. Hmmm. With that kind of creative gift imagine the possibilities.

Loved the vicarious sunset on the beach.

On April 7, 2006 at 10:54 AM Rondeau Ric said...

Yes, you happy. You likey beer.
yes, you not happy with broken scope mount and no replacement part.

Cold beer, warm water, golden sunset and the lassy of your life is worth a broken scope mount.


On April 9, 2006 at 1:03 AM ixchel said...

may one lick thy toes as comfort?