Jessica is my non-birding wife. She may forever remain a non-birder, probably due to the fact that she was born with a birding father. Although not a birder, being a stay-at-home full-time mother of four, Jessica has been the first to spot most of our new yard birds. She knows enough to know when a “different” bird appears, but still manages to remain indifferent. She has taken a shining to the quail though because they are just so cute. In our Mesa, Arizona backyard she was the first to see the Lesser Goldfinch, the Peach-faced Lovebirds, and the Loggerhead Shrike.
A few months back I saw my life bird Gray Catbird here at Avimor. I was so excited! When I showed Jessica a picture of it, she responded cooly , "Oh yeah. One of those has been coming to your feeder for the last couple of days. I didn't know it would have been a new one for ya. Sorry." Then she gives me her best evil cackle laugh.
She just doesn't understand my enthusiasm, but she loves me enough to feed my addiction occasionally or to use it against me in torturous ways. Here's a typical example:
A different looking bird appears at the feeder. Jessica sees it. Knowing I will appreciate her all the more for her discovery, she calls me at work and does her best to describe it using non-birding vernacular:
Jessisa: “Its black and orange...Yes, more orange than a Robin…and a little white and yellow on it.”
I start quizzing her about other characteristics of the bird and her responses are generally a frustrating “I don’t know” and I sense she now wonders why she even called me.
Me: “Can you take a picture and e-mail it to me?”
Jessica: “No. I’m busy making sandwiches for the kids. Hopefully it will be here when you get home. Gotta go…bye!”
Me: “Wait, wait, wait! Look up Orioles and Grosbeaks in the field guide on the counter and call me back when..." – CLICK!
After an agonizing hour of attempting to conjure up a family emergency to take me home I get an e-mail from her with a photo attached. She has postively identified it from the field guide as a Black-headed Grosbeak; a yard first! Yet her tone is so nonchalant as if to say “I don’t know why you get so excited over such a silly bird.”