I urge everyone to start their Bird Life List. I have always loved birds and last February a friend of my parents suggested that I record what I’ve seen past and present. It has literally changed my life as it created an excuse to go out and explore nature. All ages and abilities can enjoy birding and it is a great way to connect with nature and learn to identify what has always surrounded you. For the adventurous, head out to the local park or woods and see what you can find. It is great exercise and very relaxing. You’d be amazed at how many birds visit your own yard but when going out to more natural settings, you will find birds you might never have imagined lived near you. I’m still amazed at the species I never noticed living a mere mile from my house. And once you begin your eyes will be forever opened to the possibilities. Finding a “new” bird is a huge high and pushes you to continue to grow your list.
Searching the woods, exploring ponds and lakes and walking the paths in parks are great ways to find birds that you will not see in your backyard. You will never again ignore that bird flying overhead.
I was hooked on finding new birds for my list, but one day, thankfully, I learned a very important lesson. As I was strolling through the woods I was shocked to discover that my inner voice had become a snob! I was so appalled as I realized I was thinking, “Eh! It’s just another cardinal!” WHAT?!?
The shame I felt when I realized I had become a bird junkie, striving for the next “new bird” high instead of enjoying the beauty that surrounding me. How could I forsake my loyal friends that are constantly there for my viewing enjoyment? That moment I decided to change my perspective. Sure, I still get a high from finding a new bird but now I stop to smell the roses along the way.
I enjoy looking for new and interesting behavior displayed by a bird that I see frequently. Feeding is always interesting to observe.
Watching their silly antics simply delights me. Birds truly possess funny little personalities. I’m often giggling or at the very least, smiling while photographing. Whether they are enjoying life, playing, displaying, bickering or even doing what comes naturally to them, they are constantly a joy to me. They are extremely interesting and complex creatures.
I strive to capture situations that might not be the norm such as this Great Blue Heron that is resting. It is the only time I have ever encountered one so relaxed.
Who doesn’t love babies? Nothing is more thrilling than encountering a young one as long as the watcher is respectful and does not disturb the parents or the babes.
Many are considered domestic and/or pests, but I look for what makes them special and beautiful. Some of those pests have amazing personalities. I adore observing the Great-tailed Grackles in parking lots. They are inordinately funny and I often just sit in my car watching them. I carry bird seed in my trunk to feed them and delight in seeing them hover around waiting to attack the pile.
Sometimes the ordinary can be extremely extraordinary such as this male yellow variant House Finch that visits my yard. Normally they are red.
I enjoy watching birds in flight and notice the beauty of their maneuvers. If only I could fly!
And of course, I notice the cute.
So no longer do I forsake my sweet little “not so ordinary” friends. Every being is special and unique and has their own interesting qualities that are worth taking the time to notice. I’m happy to announce that I am no longer an inner bird snob! My hope is that at least one person that reads this article will decide to start their life list and discover the joys of birding.