“Before the internet there was just a man running around saying, ‘I know, I know” – Robin Williams
This morning, I came into work and was glad to see Dr. Leigh Graves Wolf using our new open office working space here in Wills House. Her recent campus open office working tour has been so fun to lurk behind to find new nooks to study and collaborate. Thanks, Leigh.
So, I walk in the door and she asks me if I know anything about birds. These are my favorite kinds of delightful questions.
I know a couple things here and there just due to personal interest. I have sat in on a college ornithology course once and I have met up with our Jackson Audubon Society on random occasions over the years.
Lucky for me, she had recorded the sound of the call that was distinct to her as she was walking to our building. She played it back for me. I thought it was an Eastern Towhee possibly, but I just had to get to the bottom of it.
So, I turned to my friend, Google. After grueling seconds of not getting anywhere due to having a hard time figuring out how to identify a bird on the internet with only the call sound in my head, I realized that a much more efficient searching rout would be to call up my friend Gary Mason who I used to work with at Spring Arbor University. Gary is heavily involved in the Jackson Audubon Society and knows more about Michigan Birds and other natural wonders than anyone I know.
So, I did what anyone frustrated with the limitations of technology would do. I used an older technology of the telephone land-line to give him a ring at his desk. He not only answered right away, but was able to identify the bird immediately even with my own botched attempt at trying to make the sound over the phone.
It was the Black-Capped Chickadee.
I was way off.