Birders can be pretty strange people.
(That opening sentence may be tied for ‘Most-Obvious-Statement-Ever-Made’.)
But a couple of weeks ago during the height of our Rufous-crested Coquette-mania when we were all standing along the Pintada road peering up into the Inga flowers, I actually heard someone say, ‘Ah, it’s justa White-crested Coquette.’
Prior to this Rufous-crested Coquette sighting, anyone who got a good look at a White-crested thought themselves to be highly blessed and fortunate! So how did the White-crested Coquette descend into being a ‘justa’ bird?
I can answer that question in one word: human nature.
We are most enthralled by that which is new. The newest iPhone that includes a digital cup-holder, we must have it. The newest food trend where the food must be cooked underneath a magic pyramid, we must eat it. And in case of birders, the newest bird to show up…we must see it.
I’m not being critical (except for that magic pyramid thing) but I’ve never liked calling any bird, no matter how common and plain, to be a ‘justa’ bird. Justa Clay-colored Thrush…justa Chestnut-sided Warbler…justa Black Vulture? Hell, when I used to take people birding in north Queensland, Australia the first time they saw a Rainbow Lorikeet (see below) their heads would practically explode with glee. But after a few weeks of seeing these same Rainbow Lorikeets, as common as city pigeons, they too became justa birds.
‘Ah, justa flock of Rainbow Lorikeets.’ Crikey.
I know…’human nature’ is two words.