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?” 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.