I’m not the only nature lover in the Laben clan.  In fact, looking closely at the world around me was a habit bequeathed to me and my siblings by both my parents, with an able assist from the landscape of the dairy farm they ran.  The good earth of Western NY just outside Buffalo and not far from the Attica pen is not exactly celebrated in story and song.  But it should be. The lightening tree, the fossil banks, the spot where I saw my first Redstart and the spot where I found my first deer skull – those all deserve their own entries.  Which they may get eventually.  But this post is about my brother Brian.

Brian and I have taken very different paths in life, and sometimes we debate them.  I sit on my hieney  in an office building in New Jersey most days; he tromps around upstate New York checking powerlines for stray voltage.  My path has some obvious advantages – I am rarely dog-bit or weathered upon or insected in the course of my workday, and, of course, I deal with very little stray voltage.

However, Bri sees way more birds than I do.  Over Christmas, he taunted me with tales of his two Barred Owl sightings.  (With love, of course!)  Today, he texted me with a tale of two Red-tails on a Ruffed Grouse carcass.

And then again, sometimes he runs into birds like this.

Maybe it’s good that I work in an office.