Saturday Evening Post #199 : A Name

The Grand Bard has his heroine, Juliet say,
And I have to add she was a somewhat wordy lass,

“‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself. (Romeo and Juliet: 2.2.38-49)

We’ve had a few days out this past week with several groups of birders. And when it comes to the id of birds it does get a bit Juliet wordy and complicated. For some its a matter of pedantic significance, for others a much more laid back and free approach.

I think, on pondering back over the discussions, and they were all good fun and in good humour, that I’m not a bird chaser. I find much more satisfaction from the Jon Young ‘Sit-Spot” technique of enjoying the surrounds and the few birds that might be in the area. An hour or so with a pair of Brown Falcons or some agile Superb Fairywrens makes me just as happy as traipsing through the bush. Perhaps I’m just getting old and enjoy the odd sit down more. 🙂

To that end, we tend to name birds that we can recognise. Many will have followed the progess of Belle and Bronson. Do they respond to those names. Not that I’ve ever noted.
or the female Brown Falcon, “Cassia of Cinnamon” and her unnamed partner.

Those that have travelled the blog for a few years might recall, Jack and Jill, the Eastern Yellow Robins, or Mr Mighty a Red-capped male.

The reason for naming has always been that moment, as the San Bushman says of,
“The stengthening of the thread of connection with the bird”.
A thread that is not always two-way. Sometimes the birds are unfazed by our presence, and others it more a tolerance.
I often say we are invited, by the bird, to enter into its close space. Birds that allow that closeness get names. It’s part of our connectedness.
Others, that show aggression or fear are best left alone. No picture is worth an upset bird.
Sometimes on approach, and I get scolded, or the bird takes off, I’m the one who is angry with myself, not just becasue a picture opporunity has been missed, but the chance to build awareness.

On the other hand, sometimes birds are just found. And as we walked the boat harbour area near home, we came across these two Little Cormorants and a sign that make a great connection.


7 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #199 : A Name

  1. I love the image, David! As if to say the Cormorants are welcoming you!
    It is fascinating how some birds will tolerate humans and cameras, possibly an ‘oh, just a part of life’ attitude while others will flee if we get withing 100 metres! And yes, giving them names does increase the level of connectivity, and helps those like me who talk to the birds. I am sure there are people who have passed by me in the field who think I am quite mad and talking to myself! Perhaps I am!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I once worked with a family of Cape Barren Geese, they have a head-bobbing body language, which I began to mimic, (badly), they settled and I was able to work with them quite close.
      Same sort of thing used to happen with White-winged Choughs. I’ve sat on a log with the family hunting all around my feet and the log beside me. As long as I didn’t try to move around with them I was pretty much accepted.
      We’ve named dozens of birds and talked with them, but, have to say I can’t ever recall one standing up to claim the name. Possibe exception might be a Kestrel I called Elizabeth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I talk to them too – I always say thank you to a bird that has allowed me to photograph it from comparatively close quarters. It seems only polite.

    It’s good of the LPCs to put out the welcome mat for you, though you might get your feet wet on the way! The water looks beautiful and I like the two different poses the birds have given you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think its part of the fun of photographing the birds that we are able to enter into their world and be accepted. I’ve long ago given up worrying about what others think, given they seem to do equally strange things. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes David there is a lot to be said for the sit and wait approach to birding. If you sit and wait quietly, they will come, and the most curious will come even closer. A lovely little capture of the little pieds, with the sign welcoming visitors. Finding that extreme tolerance safety zone for each bird can be tricky, as we know some birds have a great zone than others, but also like us, being individuals, they also have variations as to what they tolerate depending on their preceding life experiences with humans.


  4. I like how your wondering unfolds, David. It’s very thought provoking and interesting. I’ve always admired you recognising those birds you’ve named in your lovely, quirky way. I can do this occasionally and then I regret that the bird is of no particular name, except for my unconventional description of its species, like “Clemens” for all pelicans or “Pansy” for fairy wrens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I grew up in a family that named things. So it was an easy carryover. My Dad named locations in the bush. Often street or suburbs or after a notable person It helped create a little mental map of an area so getting lost wasn’t so much of a problem. Once you got back to Bouke st. It was easy to retrace to Bundaberg and then to Menzie’s place and … home

      I sort of still do that for some areas we work in and want a clear reminder silly stuff just works sometimes

      Keep takin’ pictures. We do


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