1. The bird identifying saga continues.
After I got off the CTA on the way home from the Shamrock Shuffle last Sunday, I saw a dead bird on the sidewalk 😦 This, obviously, was a distressing situation, since dead birdies make me so sad, until approximately .02 seconds after I registered that I saw a generic dead bird and realized that it was, in fact, the same sort of bird that has alluded all my attempts at identification!
The bird, being dead, clearly had no qualms about me getting close to it for further inspection, nor did it fly away or even move when I took pictures of it to use to help me in my interminable quest to figure out just what kind of bird I’ve been seeing around town since, again, it was dead.
I uploaded my picture to Merlin, telling it that I had seen it in Chicago that day, and it in turn told me that I had seen a Golden-crowned Kinglet.
Now, if you click through on that link, I would be willing to bet that the first thing you’ll notice about the Golden-crowned Kinglet is the UNMISTAKABLE bright yellow stripe down the middle of its head. While I will admit that I saw my first three un-IDed birds while I was running and they were flying and the dead bird was lying on its back, meaning the top of its head was hidden from my sight, I have a hard time believing that I somehow missed that gigantic of an identifier four times in a row. I mean, that yellow is not subtle. It’s not some tiny mark that barely distinguishes this bird from another bird. Missing that yellow streak four times in a row would be like missing the red breast on a robin.
I know that some birds look different in the winter than the spring (though you’d think, it now being April, that birds would start putting on their mating feathers any day now), but I thus far have not found any evidence that Golden-crowned kinglets ever lose their yellow, nor have I found evidence that females lack the distinctive yellow stripe that makes these birds what they are.
But everything else is right! The wing markings on my bird look JUST like those on a Golden-crowned kinglet, with a black horizontal stripe and yellow edges to the wing feathers. It was about the right size, and, despite never hearing of these birds before, they do apparently come to Chicago during the spring and fall, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that that’s what I saw.
(Cropped to minimize trauma and maximize visibility of yellowness on the wing feathers/markings in general)
Nevertheless, I remain (semi) unconvinced. I have not seen any yellow stripes. The pictures I’ve seen online don’t show nearly as white of a belly as the ones I’ve seen on my birds. Golden-crowned kinglets apparently like to hang out in conifers, and I don’t think I could tell you where to find the nearest evergreen if my life depended on it (seriously. I didn’t realize this until I started trying to think of where I had seen conifers in Chicago and realized I couldn’t come up with a single one). My mom says I should just say that I saw a kinglet and be done with it. I’m not opposed to saying that these are kinglets, especially after I learned that kinglets like to cuddle to stay warm, which I think is the cutest detail ever. I just want to be convinced, you know? And I’m not, so thus my search continues, albeit less enthusiastically than before.
2. In other life goal news, I bought an SLR!
I’ve wanted an SLR for the better part of the past decade. I’ve had a passing interest in photography since high school, and got a book on digital photography for Christmas at some point during my high school career. It became quite clear to me after reading that book that if I really wanted to take good pictures, I’d need an SLR. As a high school student, however, I was working with an $80/month allowance to cover all of my personal expenses, so obviously an SLR was not exactly within reach.
When I went to Scotland in 2011, my biggest regret from that whole trip was that I only had a point and shoot to work with in the picture taking department, so I made more of an effort to save to buy an SLR. Then, a year later, I got an iPhone, stopped using my point and shoot entirely, and decided that I probably wouldn’t ever really need a better camera, anyway.
After many, many photos that did not turn out even close to how I had hoped they would turn out courtesy of my iPhone camera, and after many, many vacations (i.e.: all of them) I spent bemoaning the fact that I was basically working with a point and shoot that could also make phone calls, I decided it was time to buckle down and save for an SLR. I finally got one last week, and I couldn’t be more excited!
I haven’t actually used it yet, but I’m really looking forward to flowers starting to bloom and to some upcoming trips I have planned to give me some opportunities to try out my new toy. I don’t plan on carrying my SLR with me at all times, so I’ll certainly still use my iPhone, but I’m so happy to finally have a decent camera.
On a related note, I’m now in the market for a camera bag, so if anyone has recommendations, I’m all ears. I’m particularly looking for a bag that will protect my camera without screaming, “Look, world! I’m carrying hundreds and hundreds of dollars of technology on my person RIGHT NOW!”
3. I have a sore throat again. 😡 My throat started feeling…off the Sunday before Shamrock (so not this past Sunday, but the Sunday before that), but I definitely wouldn’t have called it sore. It just felt not normal. By Thursday (a week ago), it had progressed to what I would call sore, so I took a quick peek at my tonsils and was distressed to see white spots on them again (though, fortunately, nothing like what I had in February).
The white spots are mostly gone now, but my throat still hurts (sometimes), and I don’t know what to make of it. As long as I constantly drink water, it feels fine, but if I go a couple of hours without any water, it really bothers me. My lymph nodes aren’t swollen like last time, nor is my resting heart rate noticeably elevated like last time, which I hope is a good thing?
What is really bugging me, though, is my wisdom tooth, which, probably not coincidentally, also really bugged me the last time I had a sore throat. My MD from the Google School of Medicine didn’t cover dental ailments, since I’ve primarily followed the orthopedist/sports doctor/gastroenterologist track of study, not the dental track. Now, since my MD is primarily from reading Wikipedia articles and looking at anatomy diagrams I find from Google Image searches, I, obviously, don’t really know what I’m talking about, despite what I’d like to believe. BUT. Considering that your tonsils exist as one of your first lines of defense against disease, and considering that your tonsils are pretty darn close to your wisdom teeth, it doesn’t seem like that huge of a jump to wonder if there’s a connection between my wisdom tooth irritation and my recurring sore throat/tonsil speckliness. Of course, if my wisdom tooth is truly causing that my trouble, then I imagine the only permanent solution is extraction, which I will anticipate I have time for around…January. Though I suppose if it’s a major problem, I’ll be forced to make time for it rather than waiting for my training schedule to accommodate the week or so off I would expect wisdom tooth extraction would require. Life is hard.
Have you had your wisdom teeth taken out?
Can someone PLEASE tell me what bird looks exactly like a Golden-crowned kinglet without the golden??