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  • Writer's picturePearl Lorentzen

Fumble through or ask for help?

Learning new skills can be difficult. As writers, we often learn new things. Whether this is research for a story or finding new ways to craft words. While learning is exhausting, it also provides fodder for writing. Practicing the art of learning also insures that one will have the ability to learn when it is needed. At times, I need to fumble through and teach myself, but other times I learn best if I ask for help.

I spent way too much time this evening trying to identify the gull in the following photo.

At first, I only looked at the first photo. I knew the bird was quite large, which ruled out several species of gulls. This and the bird's colouring narrowed it down a bit, but there wasn't enough data to make a positive ID.

I then searched the rest of my photos and found the second, which was in focus, at a different angle, but further away. Even with the smaller bird, this helped with identification. As the wings and tail feathers were more visible.

However, I'm still not 100 per cent sure that these are photos of a second year herring gull. The next most likely is a first year western gull, but these aren't common in the east of the Pacific coastal mountains. Also, they don't have the lighter feathers a few feathers in from the edge of the wing.

The experience of trying to identify the bird gave me practice using my bird book, stretched my brain, and gave me a sense of accomplishment, It is still entirely possibly that I have miss identified the gull, like I did a few weeks ago with the Cooper's hawk that killed the tern. However, I live in community and a friend was able to correct my mistake.

There was another bird which I"m pretty sure is a gull, that I took photos of the other day, which is too hard for me to identify. I only have one angle, and I can't wrap my head around the bird. That bird I sent out to my friends for help.

In the same way, as a writer it is important to know when to push through and get something down and when to ask for help. Although each writer is responsible for their own work and writing habits, having community is very important for encouragement, feedback, and having someone as crazy as oneself to talk to.

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