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This is a story about how too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

Our story begins in the early hours of dawn.  Our fearless (brainless?)
birder is valiantly searching for year birds at the Birdhouse that Brain
Built (Spanish River Park.)  OK that wasn't quite as good as Wally's House
of Rarities, but they can't all be home runs.  Our hero knows that the
strong northeast winds are pushing most of the birds past.  No incentive to
stop with this tail wind.  Still, with this many birds going by, there may
be a few good ones stopping for a rest.  He pokes around the northeast
corner of the park hoping to find a rare visitor as it enters the park.  A
few ovenbirds call and the resident Cardinals voice their resentment at the
intrusion of the few songibrds present.  A Killdeer calls from the trees
overhead.  A Killdeer calls form the trees overhead?  What's wrong with that
sentence?  How very odd.  It must be flying over.  Well it sure sounds like
it is coming from the trees.  No, it has to be flying over, Killdeer don't
live in trees.  Our fearless (foolish) birder soon forgets about the Tree
killdeer and sets off in search of other birds.  Later, upon encountering
the Builder, he learns that a life bird (for him) was heard in the thicket
near Picnic Area 8 (not too far from the northeast corner of the park.)
Darn, a life bird.  Let's try for it.  The Builder and our hero are
unsuccessful in finding the bird again.  Birdracer is stumped again, what
luck.  He birds the rest of the day and is still at, well, I forget where I
was at, but it was the same as when I started that day.  Our hero is too
busy birding and hunting the tick mark to put two and two together.
Killdeer don't live in trees, stupid.  The Builder has told our hero on many
occasions a little known key in identifying this life bird.  Birdracer's
brain is too full of facts.  It seems that when his head gets full,
knowledge starts to leak.  Black-billed cuckoos have some rufous in their
primaries in their first year.  Chipping sparrows can be told from
Clay-colored sparrows by their dark lores in virtually all plumages.
Yellow-bellied flycatcher has a call similar to Killdeer, if you hear a
Killdeer in the woods, it is probably a flycatcher.  Long-billed dowitchers
have more black than white in the tail, Short-billed has more white than
black.  Oops, I forgot how to tie my shoes.  Let's forget about the
flycatcher thing.   So, the intrepid one walks away from a life bird.  Such
is life.

Heh heh heh, well that's pretty good, but that ain't the way I heared it.
The way I heared it, one fella says to another fella......

It is early in the morning.  Birdracer is hot on the trail of the Wild Tick
Mark.  Armed with a vast stock of knowledge, ready for anything, he sets
out.  It is early and the winds are strong out of the northeast.  It is the
peak of songbird migration and things are perfect, if you're a songbird.
Strong tail winds and no rain, let's head for South America!!  Well, let's
see what's here, Ovenbirds, that's exciting.  A Killdeer calling in the
woods.  !!!!!  I know what that means.  Brian has told me several times that
the Yellow-bellied flycatcher has a call very like a Killdeer.  Not all of
the calls are like this, but at least one is remarkably similar.  It's the
right time of year, we are in the right place, Urethra, I've got it!!!   But
wait, yellow-bellied flycatchers are found down low, rarely going more than
a few feet above the ground.  It must be a Killdeer, as it is up high in the
Australian pines.  Right, a Killdeer in the Australian pines?  Well, it must
be flying over.  It's in the trees moron.  No, it has to be flying over,
Yellow-bellied flycatchers don't sit high in the trees.  And Killdeer do?
It's flying over.  But the pieces of the puzzle just don't fit.  They have
to fit, force it in there.  Birdracer was never very good at jigsaw puzzles.
OK, it's settled.  It was just a Killdeer.  Our hero forgets this little
event until days later.  Half an hour later, he meets up with Brian Hope who
informs him that there was a Yellow-bellied flycatcher near Picnic Area 8.
It was low in the thicket.  Picnic area 8, that's pretty near the northeast
end of the park.  Another  piece of the puzzle.  Brian says that birds often
are found early in the morning in this little thicket, and then move to
other parts of the park.  We check the thicket and nothing.  We check the
rest of the park and nothing.  Birdracer happily concludes that he has done
it again.  The pieces are there, will he figure it out.  Not for another day
or two.

What really happened?  Did our hero have too much knowledge or not enough?

David Simpson
[log in to unmask]
Sebastian, FL

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