Lessons From Wyoming

Or, Four Things I Learned Today


1. How to nest search.

In a nutshell: walk through the wild, look for bird nests. Record on nest card. Simple. (More on this later).


Female yellow warbler on nest, Magee Marsh, Ohio (an excellent place for warblers in the spring). 


2. That I will always want to spend more money than I currently (or will ever) have on books, and that going into a bookstore “just to look” is never a good idea.

I don’t go into bookstores for the same reason I don’t buy Oreos, bags of Pirate’s Booty, containers of ice cream, or jars of Nutella: because I’ll eat it all at once and get sick (or because I’ll spend lots of money and expand my mind and entertain myself quietly and learn something interesting. Which isn’t exactly like eating an entire jar of Nutella in one sitting, but the two activities do tend to be tied together. Reading books, I find, is typically closely tied to consuming Nutella on Maria cookies– try it– and drinking copious amounts of tea, and then holding it as long as possible because I don’t want to stop reading long enough to pee. Perhaps the only good thing about driving across Texas twice with someone who doesn’t like stop was that it trained me to hold it for extended periods of time).

Okay, this one I knew before, but I was wandering around downtown Jackson this evening and found a really neat bookstore, Valley Bookstore, and ended up wandering in and making a short-list of about 30 different books I wanted to come back and buy once I get paid.



3. I also found out that many people are into birds, including Mike, who helped me select a good trail/topo map of the area at Teton Mountaineeringwho also told me I need to go to Bird Club meetings, first Sunday of the month at the Visitor Center parking lot, and the man working at the Thomas Mangelsen gallery, who told me about how the crows that nest in his backyard occasionally leave food bits in his bird bath, including cookies, dead bird nestlings, and the head of a lovebird (probably someone’s pet who got loose and got eaten). His neighbor puts out bread, which attracts the crows to their yards. Last summer he had a cedar waxwing nest in the bush just outside his door, but he didn’t take any pictures because he didn’t want to tip off the crows as to the location of the nest. We chatted a while, if you couldn’t tell.


And when not eating other birds, crows also will eat gummy bears.


4. That I should get a mountain bike.

And that I actually kinda want to use it on a mountain. Biking on inclines isn’t exactly my thing (I grew up biking on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath, where elevation gain is described as “minimal.” I love mountains, but they are primarily for climbing up using either two or four limbs, not two wheels. However, the hills are calling, and I think my leg muscles might be able to answer. Or at least they’re seriously considering it.

I also learned that there is a trail called Putt-Putt that’s easy but “you’ll be feeling it after,” according to the guy at Sports Authority who told me where to go to buy a bike (not Sports Authority, though the bike he recommended will be going on sale soon but I didn’t hear it from him).


Yeah, this one’s not my picture either. It’s from the Bridger-Teton National Forest website

From Trails.com:

“Imagine combining a roller-coaster ride and a bobsled run—the result would be the Putt-Putt loop.”

Um yeah, maybe I’ll stick to the paved multi-purpose trail for a little while…