News Columns & Blogs

Of lost bets and favored birds...

I lost a bet over the weekend and will have to settle-up this morning.

And I’m danged happy.

I’ll gladly pony-up the price of a Diet Dr. Pepper to know one of my favorite birds is back in southcentral Kansas.

Minutes into a job interview ten years ago Sherry Chisenhall, then the managing editor of The Eagle, brought up her appreciation for scissor-tailed flycatchers. I told her they’d been my favorite Kansas songbird since my father stopped our ‘53 Chevy to show me one about 45 years ago.

I remember it as clearly as the first time I saw two deer, heard Kansas barred owls and saw my first-ever bald eagle in Lawrence.

Sherry, an avid and accomplished birder and angler now The Eagle’s editor, can also go into great detail about when she drove past her first scissortail near Medicine Lodge after coming to Kansas from North Carolina.

Every spring since we’ve had a good-natured contest to see the first scissortail of a spring. It’s become a pretty big deal.

Easter morning I got a “They’re heeeeeeeeere” text from Sherry, meaning she’d seen her first of the spring and won the bet.

Other years she’s gotten garbled messages from someplace in rural central Kansas when I’ve seen my first of the season.

And it’s never been more than a few days before the loser of the bet gets a look at a scissortail. Within a week or two the birds are common sights for both of us.

Knowing I get to enjoy watching the gorgeous aerial acrobats for about six months is worth every penny it will cost me to buy Sherry the can of Diet Dr. Pepper later today.

Click this line to learn more about scissortails.