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Bird Nerd

April 13, 2010

My husband has started calling me a bird nerd. I tell him that I’m not quite at that stage just yet (bird ID count: 5), but he persists. I guess that’s one of the hazards of walking out the door at 6:40 am on a Saturday, with binoculars, mitts, 2 different hats (a winter hat for the freezing morning and a Tilley hat for the midday sun!), a scarf, hiking boots and Sibley’s Field Guide (which I only really look at in the car or once I’m home). And migration season hasn’t even really struck yet.

I’m beginning to wonder about my bird nerddom. Maybe I’ve been secretly preparing for a while. I’ve had a Tilley hat since I was 18 (admittedly a little early to become a Tilley aficionado, but here at Birds and Words, we come from a Tilley family). My father was the first to embrace the Tilley conversion, and I followed his lead as soon as I read the little “user’s guide” in the hat’s pocket. I was taken by the narrative of a hat durable enough to withstand anything, including being digested and excreted by an elephant! It was certainly worth the 60$ investment. With two such hats in the family, my mother was an easy convert. My sister is the only one who remains mildly resistant to the Tilley hat, but who knows what the future holds.

Though I haven’t yet (really) started keeping lists of birds, I’ve been keeping lists of just about everything else since as early as I can remember. I guess someone who keeps meticulous logs of every single plane (and train!) trip ever taken, every thank you card written, every movie seen, every concert attended is bound to, at some point, discover the wonder of birds.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Fireweed permalink
    April 13, 2010 2:56 pm

    The days of the $60 Tilley hat have come and gone, but they last forever, so what’s $20 more for inflation? Perhaps your sister resists because she is the least nerdy person in your family, and your father led the way because he is the most nerdy? My brother just had his ancient Tilley replaced by them for free, because it didn’t withstand everything – but they stood by their word and gave him a new one! He was the first in my family to get one, becuase he is nerdiest. Then my dad, then my mom, then me.

  2. Christine Ricci permalink
    April 13, 2010 3:14 pm

    Julia, thanks for posting a photo of the Tilley hat! Never heard of them on my side of NJ. Did you read about yourself on my blog? Let me know of any inaccuracies – my memory ain’t what it used to be!
    http://christinericci.blogspot.com/2009/10/julia-zarankin-was-graduate-student-in.htmlog?

    • April 13, 2010 5:25 pm

      Chris!! I loved that post! I was most flattered:) As far as I’m concerned, the Tilley Hat is one of Canada’s great contributions to the Global Clothing Market! (actually, they’re mainly for old folks, but i quite like mine…)

  3. Alex Sirota permalink
    April 15, 2010 1:52 pm

    Julia

    Great site! Love the Tilley story. We had Akex Tilley give a speech at work. I organized him coming to our event and he was fascinating. He talked about lots of innovation and showed off their latest prototype – mens underwear with a smile. Google it to see what I mean. The slit runs horizontal not up and down for easy access.

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