mango dip

There’s a Green-breasted Mango in Beloit, Wisconsin, just over the Illinois border. This hummingbird’s home is in Central America, so such a bird out of water created a lot of racket on the bird lists. It seems that everybody — us included — went to check it out. The bird shows up a few times a day at the backyard feeders of a couple of adjacent houses. The homeowners whose feeder the bird seems to favor don’t mind a row of scopes pointing at their house as long as we stay behind the fence. They seem to get a kick out of the notoriety and even have a book for people to sign. So today we made our first visit.

I tell a lie. We actually decided to check it out yesterday, but I didn’t bother to get good directions, so went to the wrong house. Today, though, it was the right house. A good clue was the row of cars lined up outside.

We got there about 11 a.m. We left at 6:45 p.m. And we never saw the bird.

Most of those seven hours (45 minutes for lunch) was spent standing at the same spot with the scope focused on the same feeder. We’ve never done anything so boring or crazy in our entire birding careers. It didn’t make things any better that there were sometimes a dozen people standing there doing the same thing. (Just between you and me, those other people were insane freaks, not normal people like Pole and me.) We were the last to leave, along with a couple from Missouri. High point of the day was a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird that gave everyone a Mango thrill for a few seconds. I hadn’t seen the Ruby-throated yet this year, so at least there was that.

So, in birder’s parlance, we dipped on the Mango. Maybe we’ll come back tomorrow. But that would require wasting a vacation day — yes, I said wasting — and getting up very early. (The sightings are usually in the morning.) I don’t know if we’ll do it. We’re not crazy, you know.


Posted on the Wisconsin birding list on October 2:

On 28 September, Mike Ramsden of Beloit, posted a note saying that over 400 persons had visited looking for the Green-breasted Mango and “All have been courteous and respectful.  Kudos.”  On  30 September, Mike posted this request from the most gracious home-owners who have been hosting the mango for over a month — “Joan indicated to me today that both she and the neighbor down the hill would like for this Wednesday Oct 3 to be the last day for birders to come view the bird.  I’m going to need everyone’s help getting the word out so that birders do not keep coming after that.  If you are a member of another list-serve in addition to WISBIRD, please forward this message to that list or else post the deadline yourself.  Many thanks.”

So we dipped permanently. We dipped good.