ITHACA, NY—Though he now enjoys a successful career as one of the nation’s foremost bird experts, distinguished ornithologist Timothy Washburn admitted to reporters Tuesday that when he was young, his dream was to actually become a bird himself. “When I was first starting out, the idea of being the guy who studied birds was the farthest thing from my mind,” said the longtime Cornell University professor, who went on to explain that it was a “fairly difficult” time in his life when he ultimately realized being a bird just wasn’t in the cards. “It was hard letting go of that dream, but really, this is the next best thing—I get to hang around with birds all day. Of course, a part of me will always wonder what it’s like to be the one who’s out there actually flying around, building nests, and migrating south for the winter.” While stressing his commitment to ornithology, Washburn acknowledged that from time to time he does catch himself eating a few earthworms and “thinking about what might have been.”