Yes, I admit it. I am a Bio Bigot when it comes to birds.
I became interested in birdwatching when I was about 9 years old and we moved to Penfield, New York, in the rural suburbs of Rochester, from Nutley, New Jersey. In our town of Penfield we lived at the edge of a cul-de-sac that bordered a stream (always called "The Creek") and a wooded area that led, after a mile or so of woods, into a park.
Because of the location, we were able to see many unsual birds. During the migratory season we had many different kinds of warblers passing through, as well as some full-time residents that were uncommon (such as Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks). My mother and I went on many birdwatching expeditions in the little woods with our binoculars, and I took to drawing and coloring in pictures of the birds. My mother put them in a booklet and submitted the drawings to an Audobon contest. I actually won a prize - a week at an Audubon day camp in the area!
Each spring was heralded by the arrival, not of Robins (they were actually latecomers in that northern area), but of the Redwinged Blackbird. These blackbirds arrived on schedule at around the beginning of March - perching at the top of our little maple tree and announcing their arrival with a joyous bubbly call. And the little Goldfinches, which did winter over up there, turned a neon yellow as the Spring arrived.
As a result of this experience, I got spoiled. We saw so many "good" birds up there, that I expected to continue the experience wherever I lived.
When DH and I moved into our house, we started feeding the birds. But being in a very urban area of suburbia, we don't get the "good" birds. We get city birds. Oh yes, we do have Cardinals, and they do count as "good." But they are relatively common as well. We have English Sparrows, a few Juncoes, Chickadees, Mockingbirds, some Nuthatches and an occasional common type of woodpecker. Oh, and Blue Jays. Once in a blue moon a "good" bird will pass through but it isn't usual.
As a result, I realize I have become a "biobigot." When a "good" bird does arrive in our yard, it is an Event. And if something happens to that bird, I am bereft.
My neighbor has cats - lots of cats. I am a huge cat lover so I don't usually worry about them wandering into our yard. But a few years ago, my whole family underwent the traumatic experience of seeing one of them grab a baby Cardinal. Of course it had to be a Cardinal, not a sparrow.
The father Cardinal was helping to teach the baby to fly, and the little one was flying all over our back yard while we sat out having a barbecue. All of a sudden, the baby bird lost its bearings and flew right into the back of our neighbor's garage and fell to the earth like a stone - RIGHT in front of a waiting cat that had been hiding in the bushes. It was like manna from heaven, as far as the cat was concerned. It immediately pounced, grabbed the bird and ran off, with the father Cardinal - and me - chasing it. Our efforts were to no avail. The father bird spent the rest of the day flitting around in the bushes calling desperately for the baby. It was so sad. But would we have been as sad if it was "just" an English Sparrow?
The reason I bring this up today, is that we have a Good Bird living in our yard; in fact, two of them. They are wrens, and they have taken up residence in an old bird house we had hung on my neighbor's garage years ago. No bird has ever bothered to use it - until now.
The other day I heard the sound of an unfamiliar bird song in our yard, and finally was able to see it through the binoculars and identified it as a wren, a common House Wren, to be sure, but still unusual for OUR yard. It was flitting in and out of the bird house. Then yesterday, after three days of singing, the wren apparently attracted a lady of his same subspecies! So there are now two of them.
But they not only sit up in the tree and sing, they also flutter around temptingly on the ground in the bushes. I don't know what they do there - catch bugs? Pick up twigs for the nest? - but it doesn't seem wise. All those cats are just waiting. Luckily we have a fence between the neighbor's yard and ours, but of course the birds don't realize the situation and could just as easily start flitting about in the neighbor's bushes.
So now I worry. Every day I get up and listen carefully to make sure I still hear that wren's song. If I don't hear it one day I will be neurotic and worry that the cats have had their way with the wrens.
It just doesn't pay to get emotionally invested in wildlife. I know this. But nevertheless, I worry.
If I just didn't care whether a bird was "good" or "ordinary," it wouldn't be as worrisome. But I can't help it, biobigot that I am!
(Here is a picture stolen from the Internet that shows a wren on top of a bird house very similar to ours:)