We went birding today, in the far, far wild, unspoiled, pristine environment ... of an office park.
That's right. An office park. We saw a life bird - a Harris' Sparrow - at a bird feeder behind some corporate office in a corporate park in the very corporate town of Columbia, Md. You know the type of place - identical red brick office buildings, with parking spaces, corporate signs and nice landscaping, with (in this case) a sorta pathetic (corporate) picnic table out back. Very unobtrusive street signs. Chain restaurants nearby. SHOOT ME. Some good soul had placed a bird feeder behind one of these buildings, right next to a measly ravine where a rivulet ran by. You could hear the traffic whiz past near by and see some humongous warehouse across the road.
National Wildlife Refuge this wasn't. But as any good birder knows - birding doesn't always take place in the most romantic of places. Gulls and crows at landfills. Rails and waterfowl at sewage treatment plants. Hawks by the side of the Interstate highway.
And there it was. A Harris' Sparrow. Way way *way* out of range. This is a Midwestern/arctic tundra bird. How had he found this little bird feeder in the back of an office park in Anywhere Town USA? We are left to wonder ... and think about all the birds out there that we never see.