Passion! There is no other word in the English language that sums up how I feel about the art, hobby, past time, obsession,or the thrill of the hunt, that describes birding, or bird watching. The need to share and compare experiences with other like minded people is what I crave. Come along for a ride that can last a lifetime. I hope that by creating this Blog I will be able to educate, and inform birders,and would be birders of the beauty of being in the great outdoors with a purpose. The beauty of spotting your first warbler. The sound of a Wood Thrush as you walk through a morning forest. The silent soaring of an eagle. Come join me…
When did I start birding? It seems like a long time ago, but it really wasn’t. Late 70’s I guess. I think the first conscience effort of identifying a bird was when I was single and living alone in Silverton. My apartment was on the second floor and it overlooked Stewart Road. But running along the front area of the complex was a thick growth of various vegetation. And playing hide and seek within was a Catbird. My first positive ID.
Now let’s spring forward to 1985. The year I got married to Kathy. Up until then, birding was non-existent. And you may ask, why? Well the answer is simple. NO BINOCULARS. And that was soon to be remedied. Christmas. What a wonderful time of year, especially when your new In-Laws give you a new pair of Bushnell 10×50. I felt like Ralphie when he got his Red Ryder B.B. Gun. The hook was set.
Shortly after this wonderful gift, came the most wonderful gift of all, my daughter. Then a son, then another son. Now as a parent your priorities become crystal clear. Family first, play second. During these years I still birded when I could. Added to my life list slowly. But my family was, and still is the most important thing in my life.
And now that they are growing up and moving out, I’m finding more and more time to pursue my passion. And this Blog is just another chapter.
My philosophy towards birding, or birdwatching, has been on my mind for most of the day. So to start lets put to rest how I feel about the terms, “birding” and “birdwatching”. Two separate activities that have a common denominator.
Birding is more of an action word, where birdwatching is more of a stationary word. I do both, so don’t take this the wrong way.
Birding is the art of going after the birds, and birdwatching is the art of having the birds come to you. If that makes sense.
So if I happen to post that I’ve been to Phil’s, my birding companion, and we Birdwatched, you’ll know that I was sitting on his front porch drinking coffee, helping with his daily species count.
On the other hand, if I post that I was Birding at Halls Creek Woods State Nature Preserve, you’ll know that I was hiking through the woods stalking for birds to spy upon.
Whichever you do, whether it’s Birding, or Birdwatching, be informed and study your field marks, and calls. Become familiar with your field guide. And stay within your budget when it comes to your optics. Having a $3,000.00 spotting scope, or a $2,000.00 pair of binoculars won’t make you a better birder. Even with all the expensive gadgets, and what-not’s out on the market, if you can’t tell the difference between a Robin and a Wren your pricey scopes are worthless.
Become acquainted with birders in your area, either through a local bird club or the Audubon Society. Having a experienced birder along with you will make you a better birder.
And finally. At the beginning of each Bird Study Merit badge Workshop I’ve helped on, we tell the scouts this. Birding, or Birdwatching is a hobby that will last you a lifetime.
So Let’s Go!