[Tweeters] How old is birding???

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 28 15:59:44 PST 2018

Dear Mary and Tweeters,
Good for you, Mary, for noticing that bit from Dante. I stumbled on it myself a few years ago, and thought it would be a nifty tag to append to my e-mails. I liked it so much that I copied and pasted the original Italian text, complete with obsolete diacritical marks over some of the letters. Now all of my outgoing e-mails bore a crypto-birding message as a sign-off! Secret decoder rings were needed.
I was able to enjoy the use of Dante's words for only a short time, however. After sending a few messages to Tweeters, I began to get exasperated responses from Tweeters whose computers had been zonked into cyber-oblivion! There was something in those diacritical marks that threw a spanner in the works. I ditched Dante, switching to Eichendorff for a while, before giving up altogether on having cute little bird-related messages at the end of all my e-mails!
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch

From: mary hrudkaj <mch1096 at hotmail.com>
To: Tweeters Tweeters Bird Chat <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Friday, December 28, 2018 2:49 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] How old is birding???

#yiv0087847231 P {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}I, like many, have always thought birding was a hobby from only the past century or so.  Unless you were an ornithologist.  Today, while reading Dante's 'The Purgatory' I found out birding is much older.  The first lines of Canto XXIII (23 for the non-Roman numeral crowd) go "The while among the verdant leaves mine eyes I riveted, as he is wont to do who wastes his life pursuing little birds, My more than Father said unto me: "Son, come now; because the time that is ordained us more usefully should be apportioned out."". 
I supposed birding then was more of riveting ones eyes on verdant leaves of trees or shrubbery (fetch me a shrubbery).  Maybe that time was the birth of both ornithology and the phrase 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush'.  At least for looking at anyway.
May all your birds be easy to identify in the coming new year.  May you be able to apportion out as much time birding as you wish.
Mary HrudkajBelfair/Tahuya

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