No, despite the salt & pepper hair, I'm not old enough to have been around in the days of Clara Bow. But in 1927, she starred in a movie called simply "It" and upon the film's release, she became known as the "It" girl. The film was based on a story by English romance novelist and screenwriter Elinor Glyn who helped define the term "IT Girl":
"IT" is that quality possessed by some which draws all others with its magnetic force. With "IT" you win all men if you are a woman — all women if you are a man.
And at the recent 2009 Midwest Birding Symposium in Lakeside Ohio, the Kirtland's Warbler was the "IT" bird. IT too seemed to have a "magnetic force", capable of attracting all birdwatchers, men and women, alike.
Used with Permission (see below)
IT didn't even have to be named after the announcement of the initial sighting. IT was first reported on Saturday morning and IT stayed around all day Saturday, pretty much in the same area of East Harbor State Park. Anytime there was a break in the action at the symposium (which was often), a wave of birders would head over to the park to try catch a glimpse of IT. If you were skilled and lucky, you'd get a photograph of IT.As you'd approach the trailhead where it was seen, you'd ask others "Is IT still there?" As you'd leave, others approaching the trail would inquire "Is this where IT is?" As you returned to the Lakeside grounds, fellow attendees would inquire "Did you get to see IT?" Those that had seen IT were grilled by those still looking for IT; "Was there black in the lores?", "How bold was the side streaking?", "Did you ever see IT near the ground?"
Why is IT so special? What is ITs quality that draws people in? Laura Kammermeier of Birds, Words, & Websites does a wonderful job of sharing information about IT in her post "Revisiting The Kirtland's Warbler". She was one of those skilled and lucky enough to capture images of IT (and excellent ones at that). Make sure you check out her post.
So I won't belabor the point further other than to say that this bird is an IT bird because IT is our rarest member of the warbler family. How rare? There are only an estimated 3,600 Kirtland's Warblers on this entire planet. IT is seldom seen in migration. And yes, I was one of the lucky ones to see IT.
How fortuitous it was for a bunch of bird lovers to have been gathered in a spot only a few miles from where IT decided to spend one day of its long migratory journey. The symposium was excellent in so many ways, but the short visit by the IT bird - the endangered Kirtland's Warbler - made it unforgettable and perhaps, unsurpassable.
Kirtland's Warbler - RightBird, WBU's Online Field Guide
Kirtland's Warbler - Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Kirtland's warblers in Wisconsin Photo Gallery
Watching the warbler
It Girl - Wikipedia "It Girl"
Clara Bow - Wikipedia "Clara Bow"
Kirtland's Warbler image posted with permission from Whatbird.com. Copyright 2002-2007. We appreciate their approval of our request.