Adventures in Indiana

Last summer I worked in Indiana doing bird surveys for Oregon State University.  I made some great friends and had a lot of adventures along the way.  There’s nothing like laughing at jokes only birders would understand.  While in the field, I plowed through thorns, climbed steep hills, crossed peaceful raging rivers, saw cool birds and fought off ticks.  One day I was working on a naval base (Yes, there is a naval base in Indiana.  Their sole purpose is to make soft pillows for the bunks in destroyers.) with one of my teammates when we were surprised by a Navy security officer who was accompanied by a large dog.  Not many people have had a navy cop tell them “Put your hands in the air and step away from the clipboard”.  It was the first time I had ever been held up at gunpoint.   Everything worked out after we explained who we were and what we were doing.  Another cool experience was when I was doing a point count that was near a lake,  I heard the beautiful whistling of a Baltimore Oriole while the sun rose over the water.  I then proceeded to thrash around in thorns the rest of the day but at least I had a moment.  This year I’m back in Indiana and my goal is to catch a beaver with my bare hands.  That and I want to use the machetes we bought last year.  Yesterday I saw a turkey, a beaver and a coyote.  That’s known as a wildlife trifecta.  On another note, I’m already gaining more experience at being given a hard time.  Last summer my teammates constantly blamed things on me and made fun of the things that I liked (Harris Hawks).  Then I worked as a laborer for a while and my coworkers there also constantly gave me a hard time.  Now I’m back in Indiana and already have been the subject of much teasing.  The way I deal with all this is to go to my room and cry myself to sleep.  I mean, it’s not like I ever tease anyone or make up stories.  Oh, and I can’t stand people who have a dry sense of humor.  I’m very happy to be here and am glad that two of my friends from last year are here as well.  Well, I think I’ll go back to studying my birds and dreaming of a world filled with Harris Hawks.  This is a day late but May the 4th be with you!

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