I’m usually pretty slow to get on board with the latest trends. I was one of the last people to start wearing bell bottoms and a leisure suit back around 1970, and I wasn’t too fond of the idea even then. Word processing on a computer was another idea I had to be dragged into. I had access to an IBM Selectric typewriter with two type balls (like changing fonts for those who can’t remember what a typewriter is). It had an internal white correction tape to cover up my frequent mistakes, too. Why would I need an expensive system with a TV-like screen and a separate dot matrix printer that printed on paper that was all strung together in big box? You had to tear the sheets apart on perforations and remove the little strips off each side that cog wheels in the printer used to pull it up out of the box. I was one of the last to start carrying a cell phone, too, and still carry an old flip phone. I finally had to start using e-mail around the time I started carrying the darn phone. Even e-mail is antique technology today, and the rest of the trendy world has moved on to other means of communication — or at least what is currently accepted as communication.
I don’t really know how to use Facebook, though we have an account my daughter set up for us to see the latest posted photos of our grand kids. I still don’t have a data plan and don’t play games on my phone or use it for navigation. I hear about things like Snap Chat, Instagram, and Linked In, but don’t know what they are. Then there are Tweets. In this one area I may actually have been well ahead of my time. I have enjoyed checking the Twitter Feed with a cup of coffee early in the morning for many years. I have received Tweets out on my deck and even sitting on rocks or logs while camped on wilderness lakes.
Today’s Tweets are a good example of the kind of information I enjoy receiving from some of my friends. “Getting tired of feeding five kids. Should be empty nesters again in a couple more days. It’s about time.” (adult male bluebird singing from his perch in the ash tree) “Can you believe it? My bother still begs for food. Fed him so he’d be quiet. So juvenile.” (young bluebird sister from first nest in yard) “Love those saflower seeds. Keep ‘em coming. Wouldn’t hurt to fill chopped sunflower heart feeders more often for our dessert.” (two families of young house finches) “Fill chopped sunflower seed feeders more often or get bigger feeders. Rowdy house finches eating too much” (male goldfinch) “Big hungry kid finally moved out. Glad we don’t have to feed him anymore.” (chipping sparrow referring to young cowbird they raised) “More sunflower hearts. Love ‘em. Don’t forget the peanut cake for desert.” (downy woodpecker) “When’s suet back on the menu?” (nuthatch) “Still plenty of little worms to gather. Think we’ll do a third nest before fall, or will it be fourth? Can’t keep track” (house wren) “Time to move on. No sense hanging around since storm wrecked our last nest.” (robin) I was a little sad that the rose breasted grosbeak hasn’t had anything to say this week. The cardinal was sending regular tweets until a few days ago, too, but hasn’t had much to offer since. They didn’t bring any young ones to the feeder this year, either. Their nests may also have been parasitized by cowbirds.
My Twitter Feed will probably slack off a little as summer slowly fades into fall. There will be new messages if I listen closely, though, once migration activity picks up. And I already see signs of that as swallows and blackbirds are beginning to gather in flocks. I’ll enjoy my morning coffee, be watching (and listening) for more Tweets, and will never need to recharge a battery to receive them.
Steve Lekwa is the former director of Story County Conservation. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.