I am not what you might call an avid bird-watcher, so spare yourselves the effort of picturing yours truly prowling about the pine forests, attired in khaki shirt, cargo pants and solar topee, with a pair of binoculars hanging around my neck, a pencil behind my ear, and my hands, sweaty with the excitement of the chase, clasping a spiral notebook. I am not that man.
Still, I do possess a modicum of interest in our feathered friends, and have always been somewhat keen on trying to identify birds by their song (or calls or hoots, as the case may be). A few nights this past week, when I took Daisy, the official dog of Paco Enterprises, into the front yard for her evening constitutional, I heard a couple of birds calling to one another from a stand of pines on the other side of a field that faces our house. At first, I imagined that they were whippoorwills, but then, quickly recollecting that I wasn't, in fact, sure I had ever heard a whippoorwill, I went to the internet and discovered, after a few minutes on YouTube among audios of whippoorwill recordings, that I was on the wrong track. I feared that I was at the beginning of a long journey of discovery, but, after about 15 minutes, finally got the bird...that is to say, I uncovered the identity of the mystery bird.
It turns out to be something called a chuck-will's-widow. It is, like the whippoorwill, a member of the nightjar family, and has a distinctive call...
Case closed. Call your next case.