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Passionate Zoology student, Daniel Shorten (25), hates September as much as he loves specialising in the study of birds.

That’s because as a non-footy guy, every September is a stark reminder of how much his so-called ‘friends’ love sports. And as footy finals fever overcomes them, he is agog at how sportsball becomes a more important conversation topic than the data they’ve been painstakingly gathering on avian species and their habitats over the course of the semester. 

“I just can’t bring myself to go for Collingwood,” Shorten’s research buddy, Sarah Jones (24), tells the group as they sit at the Lord Kidman Hotel’s beer garden for a lovely afternoon drinking session.

Footy-related comments like these have been wafting out from his friends’ stupid face-holes for what feels like the last 45 minutes. Why do they care about brainless sportsball? Shorten cannot find an answer to that question. It simply does not compute.

“Lions have to win. They just have too,” Shorten’s mate, Jared Francis (24), agrees with Sarah. In fact, it appears the whole group agrees, as the footy-heads raise their glasses right in front of a frustrated looking Shorten and toast to a Lions victory.

As the glasses clink, Shorten seizes the moment to drag the conversation back to what he was talking about before the descent into mind-numbing footy chat: the average cruising speed of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

Selasphorus platycercus,” he shouts as he cheers along with the rest. “Or ‘Broad-tailed Hummingbird’ to the layman, can reach up to 30 miles per hour cruising,” he explains quickly, in hope that he can pique his friends’ curiosity.

They all take a swig of their drinks in silence, giving him another chance. “Such rapid flight allows them to hover, dart, and change direction quickly as they feed on nectar from flowers,” he continues, using his hands to make the story even more exciting than an AFL grand final. 

“But do you want to know the crazy part?” he asks the group of bored on-lookers. “Their actual flight speed can vary depending on factors such as wind conditions and the specific activity they are engaged in, such as migration.”

Shorten is having fun now. Maybe Septembers aren’t so bad after all. In fact, Shorten knows for a fact that it is a good time of year to spot Selasphorus platycercus in its natural habitat. He was just about to go into detail on it’s migratory habits but sadly Jared pipes back in with a: “If Collingwood win I’ll seriously disown footy altogether.” To which the rest of the group clink their drinks together once more, shouting, “here here!”

More to come.


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