Birders On The Border

If you've seen one life bird, you've seen 'em all.

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Names: Tom & Sheri Location: Bisbee, Arizona, United States
We're a husband-and-wife naturalist team living and working on the Mexican border. If it walks, crawls, swims, flies, or photosynthesizes, chances are it'll get our attention, but birds are our main focus both personally and professionally. We lead walks, workshops, and tours, give presentations, write articles and books, band and count birds, scrounge for funding for our tiny nonprofit organization, and spend way too much time stuck in the office...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

She scares me sometimes...

The last two days have had us on edge. A little moist air and temperatures in the 80s combined to cook up some thunderclouds, which could bring much-needed rain, dangerous wind gusts, fire-starting lightning, or all three. Yesterday as I worked in the garden, I watched a nice storm developing over the southern Sulphur Springs Valley. Lightning flashed, thunder rumbled, but - big surprise - no rain fell on our half acre.

Today we got the same setup, but I resolved not to get my hopes up even when it looked like a burly slate-gray thunderhead was moving our way. In between butt-numbing stints at the computer dealing with a couple of weeks' worth of e-mail backlog, I popped into the kitchen for a drink. From the living room I heard Jesse say, "It's sprinkling." I replied, "Yeah, right - it's sprinkling. No such luck, my dear." I returned to the computer for another half hour, until I noticed a lovely moist fragrance wafting into the study on the AC. Torn between skepticism and hope, I peeked outside and found the patio drying from a recent shower. Jesse was right - it had been sprinkling.

Jesse is a 19-year-old, captive-bred, hand-raised African Grey Parrot. Until today, I didn't even know that she'd added "It's sprinkling" to her already prodigious vocabulary. Her cage sits by a window overlooking the patio, where she could see the rain falling. Did she really understand what she was saying? I don't know, but she does things like this all the time. In our house, "bird-brained" is a compliment. One of these days, I'll take dictation from her and transcribe a few minutes' worth of her more intelligible utterances into her very own blog entry. --SW

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