Weird. Awkward. Birders.

Not my pic! This is what a Crissal Thrasher looks like, taken by Elroy Limmer.

I sent out a plea for assistance to a local birding list yesterday.  In the e-mail, I described how, over the last week or so, I have spotted two juvenile thrashers — siblings, perhaps? — and they look similar to Crissal Thrashers, except that they both have extensive black (or at least charcoal grey) streaking on their breasts, which Crissals should not have.  I described the birds as best as I could, and hoped for some good responses.  I was specifically wondering if thrashers could hybridize, since a couple of them have dark spots/streaks on their breasts.

I got several really helpful private replies, with the general consensus that it’s probably a Crissal Thrasher, though I’m not convinced;  there is a LOT of streaking on the breast, and it is very dark, which Crissals don’t have, either mature or immature.


One of the replies I receive, though, threw me for a loop.  It was from a lady who suggested that she come over and spend the day with me on Saturday to help me out with my “thrasher problem.”  She told me she’d schedule her time with me around a college football game she wanted to see, and some time with a cousin who also lives in my city.

I was taken quite aback.  It just seemed really forward.

I replied:

It has been a pleasant surprise, during my short time on the bird list, that it appears that a number of those participating offer up their homes and properties for other birders.  I really love that camaraderie.

However, I just don’t think it would work for you to come on Saturday.  Saturdays are our only days for family time, and we tend to be quite selfish of our time together, even on weekends that are not busy with responsibilities and activities.  My husband has a full-time job, plus is the worship pastor for our church, so our weekend time is rather abbreviated. Additionally, some or all seven of us have plans for both Friday and Saturday…  And, my sister and her husband and new baby are moving back to Phoenix, and should arrive on Sunday.  Time gets even tighter around the holidays.  Lastly, to be honest, I think my husband would be rather unnerved by a stranger — no matter how friendly and innocuous — spending the day with our family.

I feel badly saying no to your suggestion, and I’m sure you would be lovely company, but, unfortunately, I just don’t think it would work.


p.s. Maybe it’s still a good idea to visit your cousin!  It sounds like you could use some company.  If they’re the sort that are up for a drive, I suggest taking the Carefree Highway to the western entrance of Castle Hot Springs Road (almost to Wickenburg), and driving north and east to a spot about ten miles in, to where there is a convergence of two or three perennial creeks — N 33.97620 x W 112.44647, if you have a GPS.  You can do an easy hike back in at least three directions and follow the creek beds for some great birding.  I’ve been there at all times of the year, and there is always some water, though, of course, after it rains there is always more.  🙂   (You can enter the coordinates on this website to get a map:

Perhaps I should have just told her, “No, thank you.”

Or, perhaps she is really in need of a friend and I should have, if nothing else, took it on as an opportunity to minister.

It just seemed like an unsettling mix of loneliness, presumption, and wanting to help…


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on December 9, 2010, in Arizona, birding. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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