This is how it all happened.
It’s a modern but old-fashioned story, really.
I lived in the U.S. and he, a Canadian, was living in Dundee, Scotland going to school to get another advanced degree. We were both (ahem) older. He was in his late 40s and I was on the cusp of turning 40. We met online and after six weeks of flirting over the Internet I flew over to Scotland to meet him and after two years of dating long distance we finally tied the knot.
But that’s not the story about birds, really. The story began just two days after I had met the man in Scotland. We were spending the week traveling around the highlands in Scotland and shortly after we began our journey he wanted to stop by a bird refuge.
“A bird refuge?” I thought. “Can’t say I would ever stop to do that.”
And before I knew it, he was pulling out of the trunk of the car a tripod and scope. He never really said anything about what he was going to be doing with the scope. In fact, he was pretty quiet about it. “Hmmm,” I paused to think and take this all in. “He’s got a scope. He’s kind of the quiet type. We’re stopping at a bird refuge.” I was putting all the pieces together slowly. “He’s a bit of a nerd who likes birds.”
I played along. We went into the visitor center, paid the donation and walked around and looked at the various dioramas of wetlands and birds and I was scanning the place looking for a gift shop that might have something I might identify with. Like a necklace. Or a tea cup. But I didn’t see a gift shop. I was just going to have to seem really interested in something I knew nothing about because I quite fancied the fella I was with.
The host at the visitor center told us about a blind nearby where we could get a good look, so we went outside and walked along the path that led us to what looked like a dilapidated shed and sat there on the bench and looked out through narrow windows or slats.
And that’s when he made his big move.
I tease him all the time now about that. I tell him he secretly wanted to do that when he was a boy scout–take a girl into a blind to look at birds and kiss her.
And that’s how I got hooked onto birding.