Another Reason

Jul 09, 2012 View Comments by

After forty years of riding (if you count my early dirt bikes), I figured out yet another reason to swing a leg over the seat. Bird watching. Yes, you read it right…. bird watching.

And no, we don’t ride around with binoculars dangling around our necks and bird identification guides stuffed in the tankbags, although those aren’t bad ideas when you think about it. We just go about our normal business of riding around in rural southeastern Ohio, keeping an eye out for anything that we don’t usually see at our backyard feeders.

Although we’ve always kept an eye out for wildlife (mainly the antlered variety), the recent obsession with birds began with my wife’s desire to see an Indigo Bunting. Indigo Bunting’s are small, brilliant, totally blue birds, which are fairly common in this area but rarely seen, at least by us. I sighted three of them after Sharon mentioned that she wanted to see one, all on rides that I took without her.

I couldn’t help rubbing it in….”Hey hon, guess what I saw today up in Amish country”. She was getting a bit frustrated until we were nearing our home a couple of days ago, after an afternoon ride, and saw one fly from the middle of the road. Smart bird; the blue feathers wouldn’t have matched either my bike or riding jacket.

Since that sighting, things have changed for the better, or perhaps the worst, depending on your perspective. We’ve stopped at a couple of areas designated as bird sanctuaries to hike and look for new birds, and we’ve had a great time doing it.  Notable additions to our list this weekend include some Bobolinks seen at The Wilds, and possibly an Owl Hawk (or is it a Hawk Owl?) that we saw in the Blue Rock State Forest.

The combination of activities isn’t as unusual as it sounds; we do pretty much the same riding that we’ve always done, only Sharon now has a reason to stay awake longer. Wouldn’t want to miss any Rose Breasted Grosbeaks by nodding off, would we?

All of this has started me thinking about a new idea I’d like to run by you. How’s this sound: instead of Poker Runs, bikers would depart from a meeting point at dawn, record as many bird species sighted as possible (no cheating!), and meet at Starbuck’s in the afternoon. The rider with the most sightings would get a free latte, with his or her choice of flavored syrup, and a commemorative emblem for their jacket.

What do you think?

Tags: , , Categories: Outside the Lines