[Tweeters] You Lucky Duck !

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Mon Oct 19 09:27:26 PDT 2015

Congratulations! You have just won the Lottery, you lucky duck.

Yup, if you're reading this you are one of the many winners of a lifetime ticket to the planet Earth - the best birding locale in the galaxy - as far as I know. The chances of this ever happening are slim to none, yet here we are. Turns out that there are billions of other winners - a few too many at this point maybe.
Anyhoo, your odds of winning this this Lottery are ridiculous. Okay, it just so happens that Earth is just the right distance from the nearest star - about ninety million miles - for life to occur. A sort of Goldilocks story, the Sun is not too hot, not too cold - it's just right. Your good luck. It just keeps on getting better.
Not only does the Sun provide radiant heating, but the Earth spins, which is kind of nice. As it turns, this big ball entertains us with the illusions of sunsets and sunrises (it's just the Earth turning really) and the stars and the Moon appear to move across the night sky. A lot of birds get really excited to see the Sun come up - they burst into song and sound - a wonderful thing to hear, and just another perk for you, dear Lottery winner. Some birds appreciate the dark nights too, which adds more interest to the place. I heard a Killdeer calling in the dark yesterday - always love that.
Well, beyond having all those unlikely features, the Earth also has a tilted axis that it does it's daily spin on. What are the odds of that! While the Earth circles the Sun once a year, the tilted axis , while wobbling a bit, mostly points either toward or away from the sun, in it's annual solar orbit - thus providing our seasons. Makes for some interesting birding.
Then don't forget our nearest rock neighbor, the Moon. Unlike the Earth, the Moon, she don't spin, but just presents us with one side of her face. Luna's close proximity greatly affects our tides, which makes shore birding more interesting.
I was recently inspired last week to write about all this because the morning sky has been full of visible planets - bright Venus, dimmer orange Mars, and Jupiter, all grouped closely together . Just before sunrise, Mercury showed up low in the East.. There is no birding available on those planets - you'd freeze, boil, croak on poisonous gas, or whatever, if you were stupid enough to go to those places.
That all just made me more thankful for my winning ticket to Earth. The sun just so, the planet spinning on it's tilted axis, the moon tides - it's all turned out pretty nice, I think. I haven't even mentioned atmosphere, water, geology, etc - all wondrous contributors to good birding. In fact the probability of all these features I'm talking about happening in one place is sort of way iffy, yet it's happening nonetheless .
You're a winner! Go see a bird - there's tons of the (mostly) lightweight feathery things, all around our world.
Jeff Gibson space cadet, inPort Townsend Wa

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