25 Nov

Competitive Birding: The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

A Day at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Preserve
So the government shutdown ended, the National Parks reopened, and we finally got to make our annual trip to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Preserve last weekend.

If you think birding sounds boring, then you haven’t done it with preschoolers. After some initial disagreement on the rules of the game–a duck is not a bird…yes it is…no it isn’t, etc— the boys spent the entire eight-mile driving loop diligently trying to spot a bird and then screaming about who actually saw it first.

Theo: I see a sandpiper.
Max: No, I see a sandpiper.
Theo: I saw it first!
Max: No, I saw it first!
Wes: Coo, Coo.

I tried to focus on the fact that my boys were using the word ‘Sandpiper’ to appropriately identify a species of shorebird.

 

It was a bit easier to tune out their arguments since we finally bought a car that is “appropriate for a family of five” (direct quote from Jeremy, muttered 347 times since we welcomed sweet Wesley into our family). This means the boys are back in row 3 and they can safely pummel each other without Wesley, who is in row 2,  being in danger.

We always have a great time trying to spot egrets and herons in our very untrained, ‘there’s a pretty bird’ way. This year I think we had even more fun since we had just watched A Big Year, a great movie about the world of birding (I am not being sarcastic. Seriously, rent it). The movie gave us a different perspective on the serious groups of birders we found clustered together trying to catch sight of a yellow-rumped warbler that had been spotted earlier that week. We might have joined them at the side of the road if it weren’t for the preschoolers foaming at the mouth in Row 3.

After we completed the loop-drive, we took a hike on the Songbird Trail, a mellow walk that can accommodate the double BOB. The birds on this trail are abundant and energetic enough that I could hear their songs even above our yelling children. I have a suspicion that even the birds got pulled into the competitive spirit of the occasion.

 

Completely drained after the battle of the birding, Max and Theo were fast asleep before we even pulled out of the Preserve.

 

Winners? The parents. Every time.

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