Al Batt of Hartland, Minnesota, is a writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist. Al writes humor and nature columns for many newspapers and does regular radio shows about nature. He writes a number of popular cartoon strips that are syndicated nationally and is author of the book, A Life Gone to the Birds. He is a columnist for “Bird Watcher’s Digest” and “Watching Backyard Birds,” and writes for a number of magazines and books. He is a trustee of the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines, Alaska. Al hosted TV shows for many years and speaks at various festivals, conferences and conventions all over the world. He has received the Ed Franey Conservation Media Award from the Izaak Walton League, the Thomas Sadler Roberts Award from the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union for lifetime contributions to birding, and was recognized by Bluebirds Across Nebraska for outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation. Al speaks to anyone who will listen. His mother thinks he’s a big deal.
Here is a brief excerpt from the very humorous article by Al, about leading a birding trip, that will appear in the Fall Edition of the AOS publication, The Yellowhammer:
“. . .I know you think of a birder as the epitome of enlightenment. Maybe that’s so, but men aren’t perfect, even when they are birders. Men sometimes struggle admitting when they’re wrong. “I made a mistake,” isn’t something that jumps eagerly from a man’s lips. I’m not sure why that is. We’ve had plenty of practice in blundering. “Often mistaken, never in doubt,” that’s a man’s motto.
In keeping with my glamorous lifestyle, the hotel I’d fixed us up with didn’t offer a complimentary breakfast that had been figured into the room rate. We were up much too early for it, even if it had been available. We went down the road 1/2 mile to an eatery. We enjoyed a fine meal with fine company. We were back on the road before dawn had awakened. One member of the group drove a Toyota Tercel. I thought a car named after a male falcon was a good sign. It was a long drive to our first stop. We had no target birds other than to see all the warblers we possibly could. We had carpooled to a small park that proved to have amazingly abundant avian activity. We witnessed the wonder of warblers in waves. There were so many warblers they echoed in various voices. You’ve heard that happen. Birders called out, “Golden-winged, Golden-winged, Golden-winged.” “Blackburnian, Blackburnian, Blackburnian.” The bird banders in the group created a “GWWA, GWWA, GWWA” echo. The Golden-winged Warbler echoed for a long time as another group joined us. . . . “