Dear Birders and Hunters,
Today while gathering wood chips for my blueberries along a back road in Huntington, I noticed a small SUV driving down a steep class four road. I didn’t know was drivable. I waved the driver down to ask if it’s possible to get to the top. He said it was; he’d been up there birding. Oh, no, he had said bird hunting.
“Any luck?” I asked, but I really wanted to know if “anyone” was unlucky. Yes, he got a woodcock. I wondered if it was one of the birds I’d seen and heard in the past spring(s); a bird I can actually say is a “favorite” as their return to Huntington means spring is coming and many more birds will soon be on the way.
I wanted to say good bye and to cherish its beauty. “Could I see it?” Yes...it was so soft, so small, and still warm, as if life was still clinging to it. I stretched out its wing to try and take in all its beauty. He told me he uses these feathers to make flies and silently, I thanked him.
We stood beside each other on a bridge with our secret brook babbling below. He fishes here and I cool off in fabulous swimming holes. The brook is pure and wild, just like this bird, and in my heart, I felt a little joy knowing this woodcock would be back again in the spring when this hunter returns to catch brook trout. He’s just like me, I thought, respecting nature and loving this beautiful place. Here, where this little bird has bridged a birder and a hunter together where there is room for both of us.