Warbler Staredown

maybe a yellow warbler

What are you looking at? Aren’t you late for a tattoo or something??

[Guest birdwatching report by special correspondent Juan del Llano]

Okay, this guy (?) was in a ponderosa pine tree 10 feet from where they took the previous picture. I think it’s a yellow warbler, except it doesn’t have a streaked breast and I swear it’s bigger than a warbler. And have you ever noticed how bird books generally aren’t worth a damn? The photos never look like the bird you’re looking at—well, close, but who can remember if the silly thing had a yellow patch on its tail? Or if it went “ki-ka-CHEEP” instead of “oowah-oowah” or just sat there? And what good does calling it “four and a half inches” do me? Am I supposed to get it to land on a freaking ruler?!? What’s the matter with these people? I bought the Audubon “Birds” app for the iPad and it’s really cool but has the same damn problems. Enter “yellow” and scroll through 10 million birds and not a one of them looks like this. Not exactly, anyway. What, do birds go to salons to have their beaks colored? John James Audubon had the right idea: all his portraits were of dead birds he’d killed. That’s probably where it started, too. Paint a few streaks on the little bastard’s breast, who would be the wiser? The whole thing is a giant conspiracy to sell binoculars and telephoto lenses the size of elephant dongs. Life lists, you say? You saw a WHAT?! How do you even know??? Oh, you have a book? An app?? A bunch of dead birds in the freezer???

This one’s yellow, sort of. It flies.

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