Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pip does her first "Sort-of-a-Big-Day"!

On Thursday, I'm going to be taking Pip on her first "Big Day." I wrote a post about it on my own blog here. Her life list is already at 162! I wonder how big we'll get it to by the end of our Big Day?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pip making new friends at The Biggest Week in American Birding

Pip came to my keynote talk about chickadees, which may well be part of the reason it was a sell-out. Here we are with some of our friends.

The wonderful Magpiong family meets Pip!
Kim Kaufman and Pip!
Kim Kaufman and Pip
Dawn Simmons Fine, Pip, me, and Paula Lozano
Pip and her Auntie Paula!!!
A better one of Pip with her Auntie Paula
Lynn Richardson, R. Bruce Richardson, Pip, and me
Pip with Tiffanie Rhodes Hayes, me, Kate Zimmerman, and Lester Peyton
Tiffanie Rhodes Hayes, me, Pip, Kate Zimmerman, and Lester Peyton
Pip keeps me company at a booksigning
When no one is in line at a book signing, Pip makes the time go faster.
Yoda and Pip
Pip and her new best friend Yoda

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pip makes some friends

I took Pip to Trempealeau, Wisconsin, for a night when I was speaking and leading a field trip for International Migratory Bird Day, and we stayed with Judy and Emily, two lovely women and their older, sweet Gordon Setter Shelby. Then, during The Biggest Week in American Birding, an amazing bird festival centered at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Ohio, I've been staying with one of the organizers, a wonderful naturalist and bird bander named Lester Peyton. His pug, Yoda, is a sweet thing, and like Pip is a female with a male character's name. (My nickname in high school was Sam, and my nickname in college was Chuck, maybe explaining why I tend to not worry about the sex of a character when selecting a name.)

Pip is quite tiny compared to most dogs, is still learning basic social skills, and is teething, so I was a little nervous about how she'd deal with other dogs, and how other dogs would deal with her, but it's gone splendidly. The setter is an older rescue dog, but was very tolerant of Pip.

Pip makes a friend

Yoda is a playful and extremely sweet pug. She and Pip quickly hit it off and have been playing really well. Here they are playing tug-of-war.

Pip and her best friend Yoda!
Pip and Yoda play tug

Of course, dogs don't always like sharing, and when I gave them each a bully stick, Yoda didn't want to share hers. Pip is apparently one of those "grass is always greener..." dogs, but she figured out with just a little coaching that she should focus on her own stick rather than Yoda's.
Pip learns to share.
Pip learns when NOT to share.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Live and Learn

Pip went with me to the Friends of Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge IMDB gala. I led a Saturday morning field trip without her—she stayed back at the house I was staying in for that (but I brought her to the same spots before we left so her life list wouldn't suffer!). But on Friday evening, I brought her to my talk at a wine tasting at Elmaro Vineyards. She was great while I was holding her, but she's just too darned adorable. So many people offered to babysit her during my talk that I relented. The trick is, she gets anxious when anyone carries her away from me, so she was wriggly and whining and someone ended up handing her back to me in the middle of my talk. It was awkward with the microphone, so I ended up giving her to some people in the front row, but she got back into distress mode, a wine glass got broken, and I learned my lesson. When I popped her into her carrier, she instantly curled up and went to sleep, and the rest of my talk was uneventful. So the new rule is that during my talks, she stays in the carrier.

I had her with at my keynote for The Biggest Week in American Birding in Ohio on Monday afternoon. This time, I carried her around before the talk but then popped her in the carrier before I was introduced, and she was perfect. So this is the rule now.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Up to Eighty!

Why don't squirrels take Pip seriously?

Today, May 1, Pip's life list is at 80. Considering that I've not had any time to do any serious birding since I got her (except when I was in Kansas without her), this isn't too bad. In the context of my own first spring, when I had only 20 by May 1 and ended the entire spring with 40, she's doing darned well. Some people have said she is only benefitting because I'm helping her get all her lifers, but I've known plenty of birders with huge life lists who depended on a guide or field trip leader to identify almost all their birds, too. Kenn Kaufman says that the whole point of birding, as a sport, is to have fun, and by that measure, Pip stands at the pinnacle of quality birding.