[Tweeters] The Potbellied Thrush

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Wed Apr 3 09:53:44 PDT 2013

A few day's ago I was looking out the kitchen window when I noticed some movement on our carport roof.

I had to duck my head a bit because "Funnel Fran's" web was in the way. Funnel Fran is a current resident funnel web spider that has set up shop on the outside of our window. She has survived her neighbors, an Orb-web spider, and two Common House spiders, also females. The Orb-weaver and one House spider croaked after accomplishing their egg-laying missions for the year ( I'm not gonna clean that window till the little guys hatch out). The other House spider got et by a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Fran survived Winter well, her web full of even more used bug parts. About a week ago she nailed a big fly and today looks like she grew about 4 dress sizes larger. I made that last part up because I'm a guy and don't really know much about dress sizes. Anyway, Fran is doing great.

Anyway, the movement that started all this was a Varied Thrush that has been around the yard for at least a month. The bird was snooping through all the moss, leaves and crud atop the carport roof that I leave there for the benefit of birds. From the kitchen the view is like a ground - eye look at a forest floor. I had a nice profile look at the thrush.

Picking up my nearby copy of Sibley I was reviewing the differences between male and female Varied's, because this bird was a bit dubious. On referring to the excellent Sibley guide I'm thinking it's a male with a pale breast "V". (a young male?).

That's when I noticed the text."Potbellied, long-necked, and short -tailed, with....". " POTBELLIED!", I exclaimed, "Gee Sibley, isn't that getting kinda personal?.I mean really; do we refer to the Turkey Vulture as a "pin-headed " Raptor ? No, we sure don't! Do we say that a Sandhill Crane looks like it has a "big butt"? No way ! So why pick on a quiet, shy Northwest native? Is there some sort of Regionalism going on here? I am just kind of wondering!" I mean, he could have referred to it like "has a low center of gravity" or something somewhat neutral. I was obviously upset, since I was at home alone berating my bird book out loud.

I walked a few feet into the hallway, with a cold glass of water to cool off a bit, when I was confronted by another shy potbellied Northwest native standing in the hallway mirror: that would be me, with the reason for my upset right there hanging over my belt.

Yes it's true I have developed a bit of a belly over the past four years doing my beer tasting job at the Anchor Pub. I used to be really skinny. Unlike the innocent thrush with it's specific DNA directives, my belly is the result of personal shortcomings, like lack of restraint and of exercise. I have been exercising but mostly by doing beer-lift's which is what has resulted in ,what we call at the Anchor, a set of " six-pack ab's", (looks like you swallowed a six-pack, or are trying hide one low under your shirt). That's just wrong. I thought a review of sin's was in order, so I looked up The Seven Deadly Sins online. I found that Pride, Gluttony, and Sloth, applied to my current issue. Typically short on commitment, I discovered I had done pretty good at committing most of these sin's ( honestly, all of them). But I'm just a normal guy and put my pants on two leg's at a time just like everybody else.

Researching my shortcomings, I did find that some early birders called the 7 sins "Cardinal Sin's". "Here we go again" I thought, "more bird profiling! Why single out Cardinals, what makes them so bad? Hey how about 'Towhee Sins', I mean what are those towhee's trying to hide out there lurking in the shrubbery?" This sort of Incorrect Thinking just creates more discord if you see what I mean.

I was in downtown Everett when I decided to interview an actual bird, instead of projecting my own my own feelings on them. I asked a nearby Rock Pigeon;

" Hello citizen Pigeon. I'm with the Center for Sensitive Birders and I was wondering if I could ask you a question: how do you feel when you hear the term 'pigeon- holed'?"

The pigeon took one look at me and walked off, muttering over it's shoulder "why, can't you find your own hole? Leave me alone, bozo!". I was shocked at the seething resentment I sensed in this bird. I guess they may all be tired of being asked dumb questions. We don't want to create some bad human/bird scenario, like in that old Hitchcock movie. I can't remember what it's called.

Jeff Gibson
Center for Sensitive Birders@
The Anchor Pub
1001 Hewitt Ave
Everett Wa

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