Conley’s Corner


We all need a day to relax, and get in a little “me” time, to do whatever it is we like to do.

As full-time college student and someone who works 40 hours a week, I look forward to my days off.

But this semester, I realized I needed to fulfil one last general education requirement, a science course. I am an English major, so while I appreciate science, it isn’t exactly up my alley.

In fact, the last science course I had taken was in my junior year of high school.

I nearly melted into a puddle at my academic advisor’s door.

We went through the course list, and there weren’t any available science courses that fit into my schedule.

Aside from one, ornithology.

You may be asking yourself, “huh what’s that?”

Ornithology is the study of birds.

I was terrified of birds, petrified, horrified, whatever synonym you like.

But I had to take the course.

It was offered on my only day off, Saturday mornings from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 in the afternoon.

Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper. At first.

Before leaving the house that morning, my husband Ryan (who is a Science Education major) reminded to keep an open mind and try to enjoy myself.

I was determined to have a bad day.

But after my first class out in the field, my attitude shifted.

We were pulled off on the side of US 52 near the Scioto River Flats, and we could see little silhouettes way out in the field. They just looked like tiny black dots, nothing special.

We couldn’t quite make them out in our binoculars.

Dr. Harvey pulled out a scope to get a closer look.

There were seven Bald Eagles.

They were massive, I can’t describe the way it felt to see them take off and fly.

I forgot all about the cold, my tiredness, and my bad attitude.

We drove out to some other places in Shawnee Forest, and I learned quite a bit.

It’s funny how sometimes you don’t notice the things going on around you until someone else points them out.

I am not an expert by any means, but I can identify some species of birds when I see them, or when I hear their songs.

Now, whenever my husband and I are driving I say, “oh that’s a grackle,” or “did you see that mourning dove over there?”

Recently, we were at an outdoor Easter Sunrise Service and I leaned over and whispered, “do you hear that? That’s a pileated woodpecker.”

It’s opened my eyes to the world around me.

And that’s helped me overcome my fear of birds, I understand them and respect them now.

When it’s 6 a.m. and I hear the American Robin singing outside my window, I smile.

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Birds and Bad Attitudes

By Ciara Conley

[email protected]

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext 1932 or via Twitter @PDT_Ciara

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