Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Birding Life, Episode 22

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Al Batt speaking at the 2009m Midwest Birding Symposium. Photo © Connie Kogler.

The new episode (#22!) of my podcast This Birding Life is now available for your listening pleasure at Podcast Central on the Bird Watcher's Digest website. This episode features the inimitable Al Batt presenting a program called "Snippets from a Life Gone to the Birds" at the recent Midwest Birding Symposium in Lakeside, Ohio.

Al Batt is a humorist and storyteller from Hartland, MN, where he grew up on a dairy farm. He was one of our keynote speakers at The Midwest Birding Symposium in September, and as you'll hear from the podcast, he had us all rolling in the aisles laughing (wld tht b txtd as RITAL?).

I've had the great fortune of knowing Al for about a decade now, and I can tell you that he's every bit as funny and nice in person as he is in this recording. He is also an avid, excellent birder and holds the distinction of being the world's tallest Lutheran.
This photo shows Al and me enjoying our camp biscuits with "sum o that yaller mustard. hmmmmm. " Photo © Julie Zickefoose.

Last June the family and I shared a four-day canoeing and camping trip down the Missouri River in Montana with Al and two local guides. We were paddling in the footsteps of history: this was the route Lewis & Clark took on their famous Journey of Discovery in the early 1800s.

Being out in the weather and mud, sleeping on the cold hard ground, and eating camp food can try one's patience. Not Al's. He was just as sunny and friendly on the last hot afternoon, eating flat-meat sandwiches, as he was at the outset of the adventure. I think that's because he has the unique combination of a Zen-like outlook on the world mixed with a down-home sense of humor. Plus he knows what it's like to get up at 4 in the morning to milk dairy cows and he's just so dang happy that he's not doing that anymore...

Listen to Al on the podcast, and then do yourself a favor and catch him at one of his many public-speaking appearances. I guarantee that you'll get a good laugh, plus a some Midwestern wisdom that will make you think.

You can access the podcasts in both regular audio (MP3) and enhanced audio (M4A, with images) formats at Podcast Central and in the iTunes Store in the Podcasts category.

This Birding Life is made possible through the support of our sponsor: iBird. To learn more about iBird and the iBird line of applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, visit them online at


On October 22, 2009 at 10:56 AM Robert Mortensen said...

Thanks for posting that hilarious and inspiring talk.

On October 22, 2009 at 11:06 AM Anonymous said...

Please bring Al back to the MBS in 2011. I loved every minute, no, make that every second, of his presentation.


On October 22, 2009 at 9:15 PM Anne said... that Balloon Boy in your scope?

On October 23, 2009 at 9:01 AM Rondeau Ric said...

As you know, I laughed and laughed and...
He is a treat to meet.