My New Birding Superpower?

When I bird my “local patch” – my neighborhood’s preserve – I rarely have a specific target in mind. You just never know what’s going to be there. But today was different. I really wanted to see a Philadelphia Vireo.

I just love that adorable, little bird. That admission may cost me some birder points, or some such, but I stand by it. And I don’t get to see them very often. They come through Georgia, or at least my little part, the last ten or so days each September. I’ve seen at least one here each of the last four years, with the exception of the last (I was a little distracted by the birth of my first child, but that’s ok, she’s even more adorable than Philly Vireos).

So it wasn’t much of a stretch to wish for a Philly today. But it didn’t start out very promising. Most of my vireo sightings have been in the clearing around a small observation deck in the middle of the preserve. (I have no idea why it’s there; it’s not really overlooking anything. But I see a lot of birds from it, so I’m not complaining.) But when I got to the deck this morning, there was nothing around except for a couple of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that have been fighting over a patch of jewelweed. So I waited. Eventually, a Red-eyed Vireo popped up, but that was about it.

I was just about to leave when I thought, “I just want to see a Philadelphia Vireo”. The exact moment after that plea went through my mind, I spotted this little guy.

Philadelphia Vireo

Two Philadelphia Vireos had materialized in the willows. They foraged around the clearing for a couple of minutes, and then disappeared as suddenly as they appeared.

You can choose to believe that this was just a case of a birder knowing exactly when and where a particular species was likely to show up. But me? I’m wondering if this isn’t some sort of latent birding superpower. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow – I’m going to be thinking about how much I want to see a Mourning Warbler.

Philadelphia Vireo

You summoned?

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3 Responses to “My New Birding Superpower?”

  1. Larry Jordan

    Birding superpower indeed Grant! I find many times that if you look in the right place and wait long enough, you will find what you are looking for.

    So often, with a little patience, a bird that I have come to see or photograph will come to me. If not the bird I seek that day, perhaps one I have been seeking for an even longer time.

    Your superpowers did a nice job with the Philadelphia Vireo!

  2. Grant

    Thanks, Larry. Unfortunately, it didn’t work with the Mourning. At least yet, anyway :)

    Being patient and waiting, especially when not staking out a rare bird, has been a hard skill to acquire. But regularly birding this preserve has helped to hone that in me, I think.

  3. Bird Feeders

    Birding super powers? A mere thought conjures any bird to immediately materialize directly in front of camera lens? This is so much easier than my laborious strategy of sitting and waiting, I’ll have to give it a try! Haha, thanks for the great article!

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