Feb 042017

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.  

Barred Owl – I went into the woods near my house in Garland before dawn seeking one with flashlight and camera in hand and was well rewarded for the numerous spider web dances I performed

Bald Eagle in the DFW area – it never ceases to be a delight to find a bird of prey, but Eagles just cause a happy dance









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.


Loggerhead Shrike in the Garland area. I’ve seen two and both were thrilling. What a gorgeous little bird.

Common Yellowthroat – found while strolling through Breckinridge Park in Richardson I spied this beauty. I’ve never seen another.

Sora – Usually a very elusive bird but somehow I’ve managed to photograph quite a few. Their whinny is a delight to hear.



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?!?

One of the beautiful Northern Cardinal males that have grown up in my yard

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.

Great Blue Heron with his catch in Garland

Northern Shoveler couple feeding together at White Rock Lake. The only thing I love more than a face shot is a butt shot and I got a two-fer with this one (male on left, female on right)

Tufted Titmouse – Always a joy to see eating at my feeder. This little fella got himself a peanut


Carolina Chickadee feeding her baby a sunflower kernel at my feeder

Canada Goose enjoying her bath in Richardson – giggling abounded

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.


Snowy Egret putting on a display at the White Rock Lake spillway – I had Disco music playing in my head

Mallard duckling playing in the water in Rowlett – so much fun watching the babies learn

American Coot literally walking on water during takeoff in Garland – this breed never ceases to amuse me. They have adorable little calls and are to me, simply delightful

Ring-billed gull with a huge chunk of bread in his mouth in Rowlett – watching these guys fight over food is hilarious



















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.  

Great Blue Heron laying down in Garland

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.  

Mallard duckling at Wynn Joyce Park in Garland

Great Blue Heron nest in Rowlett

Baby Mockingbird taking a bath at the Dallas Arboretum

Fledgling Blue Jay that I watched leave the nest in my front tree

Baby Killdeer at White Rock Lake

Killdeer Mom with her babies at White Rock Lake. She has about 3 babies underneath her as well as the one headed that way

























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.

Domestic Crested Duck in Dallas – I was so very taken with her. She is incredibly lovely with that fancy little hairdoo

Common Pigeon – I thought she was simply gorgeous

Great-tailed Grackle – look at the stunning colors of his feathers

Double-Crested Cormorant – those eyes! They get me every time. So brilliant and lovely.

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!  

Ring-billed gull in Rowlett – It is so interesting the way their wings work

Black-necked Stilt in Dallas

Snow Goose at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in Sherman












And of course, I notice the cute.

Monk Parakeets (aka Quakers) at White Rock Lake. I was talking to them which almost always results in a fun picture for me.

White-winged dove – I’m well known for my dislike of this species, however, Harvey (named for his penchant for landing on my suet feeder at the window making it bang into the wall) lives in my backyard and I have grown fond of him. I was talking to him while taking the photo.









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.

  9 Responses to “For the Love of Birds”

  1. A most interesting view of what is around us that we are too “busy” to see. I enjoyed the perspective of the writer and liked the photographs.

    • Thank you for the compliments, Dad 🙂 I’m really happy that you got my point…that when one takes the time to start to see what is around, there is SO much to find. Love ya

  2. Nice stories and great pics, Tracey !

  3. I really enjoyed your view point of seeing and appreciating what is around you as you explore for the next new sighting! So often we take the little things in our backyard for granted! Thank you for reminding me of this! I am such s big fan of your photographs, you never seize to amaze me!!!

    • Thank you for reading it Tanya! It is so easy in today’s busy society to forget to take the time to take a breath and enjoy what is around us. Before I started my list, I rarely noticed things and now I cannot stop seeing them. Butterflies and dragonflies in parking lots, birds flying overhead while I’m driving, and so on.

  4. You’re the best bird picture taker ever…

  5. Great post with wonderful pictures I (glad to see one of my all-time favorites–a baby Killdeer!). Thank you for sharing!

  6. What you write is so true. Just in my little backyard in North Oak Cliff I have identified 43 species in the past 5 years. I have even seen a Red Tailed Hawk swoop down and pulverize a White Winged Dove and only leave a wing after a few minutes of surgery via a beak.

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