The other day I was looking out on the patio and I saw a new bird. I raced to the birding book, misidentified it as a Fox Sparrow at first, but now I know it's a Brown Thrasher. (By his song ye shall know him.)
It's an entertaining animal. It hops, and with every hop its tail bounces like a lever, like it's a railroad handcar.
When I thought it was a Fox Sparrow, I had Gary buy birdseed with millet, for that is what Fox Sparrows eat. Brown Thrashers will have none of that -- we have plenty of what they eat: nuts.
(In the same vein, if you want skunks in your yard, buy Purina O.N.E. Lamb and Rice Dog Food. Back in the day we had loads of skunks selectively eating the lamb chunks: now that Gary's stopped putting out dog food we see no skunks.)
I suppose birdwatching is an elderly person hobby for the same reason doing jigsaw puzzles are as well. Both rely on your subliminal powers of observation. I've started to notice that I race through jigsaw puzzles after a minute or two, not because there are fewer pieces, but because my subconscious has observed all the details and I don't have to manually pick them out. I think at some point you have seen enough birds in your life that eventually you move into a new detailed level of observation. Birds stop being "brown bird" and "mean bird" to Fox Sparrow/Brown Thrasher and Blue Jay.
Really, I'm not even 57. I shouldn't be eating Werther's and birdwatching. What is left? Bingo?