I WONDER… Aug.13,2012 There’s a traditional church hymn with a verse that goes, “I once was lost but now I’m found,” but sometimes you have to wonder if being found is all that it’s cracked up to be. I mean, are the members of the recently discovered “Lost Tribe” in the Amazon really that pleased at being “found” by the members of the tribe of “Civilized White Men” – when the fact is they never considered themselves lost in the first place? Being lost…like everything else, is all relative. So I wonder how our little #1-11 felt last week when he looked up from where he stood alone in a field south of here and saw the Wisconsin DNR plane circling above as Bev homed in on the beep-beeps of his transmitter. Did he break into a celebratory touchdown victory dance with such flagrant exuberance that the nearest referee threw a flag costing WCEP a 15 yard penalty? Or, did instead a thought balloon suddenly rise above his head containing the words “Oh crap?” As some of you know, #1 had not been seen since he and his classmates heard the final call of migration and took to the air on that magical morning back in April, spiraling higher and higher above Wheeler Refuge until they disappeared into the deep blue of the Alabama sky. All were later present and accounted for in Wisconsin …even #2-11 returned from her trip to Florida and was regularly observed….but not him. Where did he go? Then followed the usual string of possible sightings; one in Alabama at a refuge a few dozen miles from Wheeler which scrambled the refuge biologist for an unsuccessful verification effort. And then some others in areas along the migration route until #1 sightings rivaled those of UFO’s in number, prompting the suggestion that he was really hanging out in Area 51 in the Nevada desert where the government keeps all those gate crashing aliens from outer space (the ones from inner space are too small to see without a microscope) unfortunate enough to have taken that galactic shortcut that brought them to our ‘not so blue anymore’ planet. I felt confident, however, that he would turn up alive because after all, he was my favorite bird. Oops! Did I really say that? I’m not supposed to have a favorite bird. That wouldn’t be scientific! So much for my chances for a Nobel Prize, or an advanced degree in something I probably couldn’t pronounce let alone spell. But even the aliens have their favorite humans. Truth is, each year produces for me a favorite bird and last year it was #1. Why #1? Lots of reasons, many of which lie within the boundaries of the subconscious rather than the conscious and can best be explained only by the words, “ just because.” Bev shared my little secret, and so she called shortly after the discovery, which caused the nearest camp referee (those darn guys are everywhere!) to throw the flag so hard it left a bruise on my arm when it hit me. And so one morning last week as I looked out into the morning darkness while the rain pounded hard on the roof of the camper, I wondered what the little fellow was up to. What he’s thinking? What the day and the week and the month hold for him? And, where has he been all this time? What a story he has to tell. What an Update! Perhaps one day technology will enable us to communicate such things. Or perhaps it will be just the opposite and we’ll evolve as human beings enough to discover within ourselves a portal through which to converse with the natural world and learn its secrets…and his. Maybe only then will we really know for sure which column we fall under, the “Lost” or the “Found.” Until that day, we can only wait…and wonder.