Hazel lives at Portland Audubon.

If anyone loiters at this site for long enough, they might begin to think they know me. They might, for instance, assert with confidence that I am a birder, because I write affectionately about birds. Who wouldn’t want to look at birds? Given the knowledge that there are little fluffy dinosaurs flapping around outside in colored suits, who the heck would rather stay inside and watch TV? Well. Not me. So does that make me a birder? Do you actually think I am one of those people wearing a dopey nylon hat with my pants tucked into my socks driving thirty miles per hour under the speed limit with my head cranked out the window?

You bet I am.

That doesn’t make me a good birder. Those people are freaky. They can reel off the names of any dot in the sky you care to point at and a bunch you can’t even see, too. I, on the other hand, have spent the last six months looking at finches at a feeder six feet away and trying to decide if they’re House Finches or Purple Finches. I’ve consulted guides. I’ve looked it up on the internet. I still don’t know.

Real birders have something called a Life List. They maintain a list of all the birds they’ve ever identified and they get super excited when they get a new one, called a Life Bird, or Lifer, for short.

I’ve seen the exact same Life Bird dozens of times.

So does Aristophanes.

This is the problem. I have a memory in the same sense that I have a penis. That is, I don’t have one. It’s a serious issue. If I’ve met you before, I don’t remember you. I don’t care if we spent hours talking to each other at a party. I’ve never seen you before. If I do remember your face, I’ll ask you how your family’s doing, even if we’d spent hours talking about how their deaths in a tragic tightrope accident had left you with a fear of both heights and string and no sense of closure, and it was in the newspaper for weeks. I’ve learned five thousand classical pieces on the piano and I can’t conjure up a single one to play for you.

I do have a gift for metaphor and hyperbole that serves me well as a writer. Both require a very loose rein on the brain cells so they can wander around and bump into each other in a serendipitous fashion, and my brain cells are whizzing all over the place because there are absolutely no facts or faces or useful data in there to impede them.

So when Sarah Swanson and Max Smith (who co-wrote the wonderful book “Must-See Birds Of The Pacific Northwest”) invite me every year to join their Birdathon Team (The Murre The Merrier), it is not because I have birding skills. Best I can manage is to spot movement in the trees and point and go eee eee eee hoo hoo hoo and hope a knowledgeable person can home in on it before I get propositioned by a chimpanzee.

Really, the only reason to invite me into a birding van is for my entertainment value, my homemade

Boo Boo lives at our house.

cookies, and the number of people I can badger to chip in a few bucks to sponsor me. The money goes to the Portland Audubon Society to further their conservation work, right here under the watchful eyes, churning wings, and trailing legs of the Pacific Flyway.

Nobody will poop on you if you don’t contribute, but you might get winked at by a sandhill crane. Can’t beat that, loves.

If you’re badgerable, you can sponsor me by chipping in a few bucks right here. If you like to live dangerously, you could pledge a certain amount of money per bird found. Last year, we scored 120!