Crazy, Crazier

The only people crazier than birders
are fishermen.

The speaker?  An accomplished birder who had risen at 03:30 to drive from Detroit MI to Leamington ON to lead a day of birding at Point Pelee National Park.

The audience?  A group of birders, at least one of whom (ahem) had risen at 04:45 to make the 05:50 rendezvous. 

The context?  The practice of getting up before dawn to pursue one’s hobby, although I’m not sure fishers of fish would refer to their activities as a mere hobby, any more than chasers of birds would.

But you get the point. Our culture generally approves of early risers over slugabeds: The former are seen as industrious, at least, if not morally superior.  At the same time and contrariwise, there’s something just a little off about people who get up before dawn for something other than work.

And then there’s the other point.  While we seem to want to fit in, at the same time and contrariwise, we also seem to want to lay claim to being outliers on some dimension.  And so we’re OK to admit to being harmlessly crazy, as long as there’s someone crazier.

So, as I wandered along Windsor’s Riverwalk at oh-dark-hundred, chasing sunrise photos, I was amused and maybe just a tad relieved to see that the fishermen were there before me.


Orange-red sunrise over Detroit River with equiipment silhouetted in foreground.



  1. John Whitman

    Ah yes – and I remember getting up at 3:30 AM in Winnipeg so as to get to the Delta Marshes north of Portage la Prairie an hour before sunrise. That was so as to be in position in the reeds an hour before the legal hunting hour for water fowl arrived.

    So it is not only birders and fisher people (with compliments to our um, ah, PM) who get up early in the AM to pursue their favourite recreational pastime – but I was a lot younger then.

    John W

    1. Isabel Gibson

      John – Yes, it begins to be a large number, doesn’t it? Birders, fishers, hunters, photographers, runners, seekers after turtles . . . It makes me wonder if the list of folks who don’t gt up too early might be shorter.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barry – Well, except for the summer. And it depends how far north. I’d vote for sunrise at about 9 AM, and sunset about 7 PM. Who do I mention that to?

  2. Jim Taylor

    The earliest Joan and I ever got up was about 1:30 in the morning, so that we could join a group going to watch turtles (leatherback, I think, but I could be wrong about the specific species), laying eggs above the tide line. But maybe that doesn’t count, because after about three hours of watching, we came back to our resort, and went back to bed.
    Jim T

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