A Birder’s New Year’s Resolutions

Once again it’s January, time for making a list of all the things you would like to do differently in the new year. If you’re at all like me, you’ll resolve to finally lose that extra weight, walk at least two miles a day, and empty the accumulation of credit card receipts out of your wallet at least once a week.  You promise to, in general, exhibit more self control over all those accumulated habits that stand between you and perfection.

But we’re not just ordinary people. We’re Birders. So it seems appropriate that we make some New Year’s resolutions specific to our particular passions. How about if we resolve to…

1 Go birding. This is the priority, right? If you’re too busy to go birding, you’re too busy.

2 Attend all of this year’s meetings of your local birding club or Audubon chapter. Compare resolutions with other like-minded enthusiasts.

3 Track down your nemesis bird. You know it’s out there! Think of the satisfaction you’ll feel when you finally add it to your life list.

4 Before you vacuum the house or do the laundry, read a book about birding! Some suggestions: The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession, by Mark Obmascik; Kingbird Highway: The Story of a Natural Obsession That Got a Little Out of Hand, by Kenn Kauffman;  To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifelong Obsession, by Dan Koeppel. (Did you notice that all three titles contain the word “obsession”? Wonder why….

5 Enter trip results into your master list as soon as you get home, while the details are still fresh. Do it even before you take off your muddy boots.

6 Fill your bird feeders and keep them full… before you even think of mowing the lawn or pulling weeds.

7 Drop everything and go see that rare bird that just showed up at the local hotspot, before it flies back to Cuba.

8 Wash and refill your bird bath at least every other day. After all, you take a shower or bath every day, don’t you? Don’t you?

9 Volunteer. Do something to help birds survive the ravages of 21st century civilization. Support your local parks, Audubon chapter, or bird club. Or check out www.audubon.org/bird/citizen/index.html for some “citizen science” opportunities.

10 Introduce a friend, relative, or neighbor to the joys and wonders of chasing elusive little brown jobs while frantically thumbing through the “Sparrows” section of your field guide.

I’m sure you can think of lots more ideas. Why not share them with the rest of us? Who knows? Instead of again vowing to diet or get more exercise, maybe these are some resolutions we can keep!

2 thoughts on “A Birder’s New Year’s Resolutions

  1. For #4, have you read “Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds” by Olivia Gentile? Sounds like it would be right up your alley! (I’ve been eyeing it on the new shelves at the library.) Oh! And you should check out “Charley Harper’s Birds and Words” too. Beautiful, unusual artistic renditions of birds. Happy New Year to You!

  2. Actually, I started reading Gentile’s book, and stopped halfway through. I just didn’t like it. For one, it seemed that she told me about Snetsinger, rather than inviting me into her life. Also, she views all of Snetsinger’s actions through the lens of the repressive male-dominated society of era, and it got old after a while. Maybe the second half of the book is better.

    I just learned about Charley Harper—he was featured in the Nov.–Dec. 2009 BirdWatcher’s Digest. I’m intrigued!

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