Tomorrow we'll introduce you to Roger, another ranger at my park, who has a wonderful collection of baseball cards. We'll begin with the story of his meeting Brooks Robinson. But one of Roger's other interests is birdwatching, as it used to be called, or birding, which is the preferred term now.
One of my roles as a ranger at this park is not only to know about history and cultural resources, but also natural resources, and my weak area has been birds. In the summer especially people approach me and describe a bird they saw on one of the trails and then ask, "what was that?" So this summer I'm determined to know a lot more birds to answer that question confidently more often.
Once you open your eyes to birds--and I only started to after finishing my full-time schooling late in December--you wonder how you could have been oblivious to such beauty and joy for so long. We have a bald eagle living on the river in the park, and it's a delight to see him soaring overhead. I've also enjoyed recently evening grosbeaks (who dart around before cold weather or a storm), dark-eyed juncos, a Townsend's Solitaire, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, a ladder-backed woodpecker,
They are so engaging to watch and to learn about. I study pictures and songs and go on walks with Roger, who knows them all and identifies them when I'm unsure so I can laser their images into my memory.
My point, and I do have one, is that I think there are similarities between baseball card collecting and birding...such as becoming well-versed and informed about a subject; the thrill of the hunt; the pleasure of finding something new; and so on. With birding, enjoying nature is part of the experience, which has nothing to do with cards but does have something to do with going to baseball games.
Dare I ask, are there any birders out there?
[Related collectibles and collector urges we've written about: Coca-Cola, Coins, squished pennies, comics (Betty and Veronica, Satchel Paige, Will Eisner and Dan Burr, and more.]
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