Watching on the Brain

March 26, 2015 12:45 AM

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A small bird called the European redstart once prompted South African bird-watcher James Currie to hurry 900 miles by car from Cape Town to the Kalahari Desert. That his wife Rebecca was nearly eight months pregnant with their first child didn’t rule out a road trip to see the unusual visitor. “It was a big deal. This bird is seldom seen in the region,” he says.

On his second night in the bush camp, his cellphone erupted: Rebecca had gone into early labor. Mr. Currie, now 42, admits he wavered longer than he should have.

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