Saturday is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “Global Big Day,” a highlight of the spring migration when birders around the world count as many species they can find in 24 hours.
My birding bag and I were both getting ready.
This post started out as a way to tell you how to get prepared for a day traipsing the countryside in search of wading birds, wood warblers or anything else that might happen to migrate by. But when I sat down to catalog everything I bring along in my birding bag, I came to a jarring realization.
First I need to explain that my birding bag is a small brown backpack with pink zippers that’s a hand-me-down from my daughter’s time at summer camp. It reeks of sweat and bug spray, but I’m afraid to wash it because it’s so old it could fall apart. And then I might, too.
The whole point of having a birding bag like mine is to anticipate disaster and be fully prepared to deal with it. Inside there’s a tube of sunscreen, a water bottle, gum, lip balm, tissues, hand sanitizer, lens cleaners, a protein bar and dental floss. (Dental floss makes a great temporary shoestring or emergency suture, but mine’s there in case a bit of the protein bar gets stuck in my teeth.)