A series of events lead to this below. Moonie and myself making it into the Toronto Star on Friday February 15th, 2013.
It's a bit of a lengthy tale that I am not sure I feel like keying out right now. I'm home sick with some kind of cold bug and my eyes are feeling pretty heavy looking at this screen. Plus, since this story involves a few other people, I'd rather get approval of using their names beforehand.
I can jump ahead to the latter part of the tale, where at the end of an hour or so telephone interview with a reporter from the Toronto Star has her asking me if I'd be okay with a photographer coming out the following morning to take some photos in my backyard. To which I replied "absolutely!"
The article was about the Great Backyard Bird Count that was happening across the world on the Family Day long weekend us people in Ontario get to enjoy each February. So the idea of pictures from someone's backyard seemed right; although great backyard means anywhere and everywhere outdoors. It is encouraged for people to get outside and enjoy the birds this particular weekend.
The online edition differs from the actual newspaper in way of the photo they used, see here.
So, this photographer shows up on Thursday morning. He was a very pleasant man, we had some good discussions during his time with me at the house. We spent 40 or so minutes out back waiting for some birds to come to my feeders. A day earlier, the yard was full of birds, and even my buddy Pierre was around... and I silently asked him to be sure to come today, and early. But nobody was out back for much of the time. He began taking photos of me by some of the feeders. I was honest and said it was odd to me, hard to smile, and I'm just not a guy who likes to be in front of a camera (centre of attention). He told me to not worry about it, don't smile if I don't want to, and to not look at the camera. It sure made things a lot easier for me.
Suddenly a couple Starlings flew in and as quick as they arrived, they flew away again. Same thing seconds later with 2 Pigeons. I told Colin (the photographer) that the birds know of something we do not. I put my "bird sensors" on and tuned in. Soon enough I spotted a Coopers Hawk hanging out in a neighbour's tree focused on my yard. I pointed him out to Colin, saying "that's why there are no birds at the feeders". Colin pondered going out to his car and getting a big lens to grab a shot of the Hawk but didn't.
We decided to head into the house for a bit, warm up and see if the Hawk will move on and birds start returning. We got talking about the Budgies, Misfit and Moonie, and I told him, as I did the reporter on their tales of how they ended up here. Both being backyard rescues, coming here from who knows where, because of the other birds and the feeders. Colin thought it might be fun to use one of them for a bit, just to shoot something. Moonie is the easier going of the two. I don't know how many pics he took of Moonie or Moonie and I, and Moonie was getting tired of the attention and especially this camera pointed at him. So we put him back in his house and tried out back one more time. Still no birds and the Hawk was not to be seen either. About 15 minutes later he had to leave because of another appointment.
I went about the rest of my morning before work, wondered about what the article was going to look like and so on. A couple hours later Colin phones me and asks me for the correct spelling of Moonie's name. I told him, he thanked me and said "have a great afternoon". So in the back of my head, I'm thinking Moonie is going to make the paper, but also thought that was just crazy talk. I knew a lot of photos were submitted for this article from various people.
That evening I'm working away and suddenly I get a notice on my mobile that someone tagged me in a comment after reading the article online already. I wasn't aware online editions came out that early. It took me forever to load the page in my phone but finally I did and saw the one linked above with me on the deck looking up at a feeder. It was too much strain on the phone to try and open up the article to read it all. So you can imagine come quitting time that I raced home for a view on the computer. I was happy with the article and honored that it finished with my 2 cents in a couple paragraphs.
The next morning Angie is phoning the house and texting my phone. Home line was unplugged, my mobile gets turned off at night, so she couldn't get a hold of me. Turns out they used a different photo in the paper as you can see. Basically Angie was on the subway going to work, and she noticed someone next to her or in front of her, reading the Toronto Star, and when they opened up the page to the GBBC article, she freaked and shrieked "that's my husband, and my Budgie!" I can visualize her doing this and the other morning people around her in transit heading to work suddenly waking up on the train at 7 in the morning to this. Haha!
I'm sure some out there may be thinking "what the hell is up with a Budgie's photo making this article?" But I think they tied it in rather well to the story. Of course Moonie belonged to someone, somewhere in the city and was probably captive bred, bought in a pet store or from a breeder. He escaped or was let go, and suddenly became a wild bird at a very young age. He flew to our house and became one of the family. While he cannot really participate in bird watching with us at this time of year, he does enjoy the summer days out back with us all... his family and the wild birds around us.