Birding travel. Recent sightings. Ornithological news. Most birding blogs cover these and similar topics. That’s fine—it’s always enjoyable to hear about someone else’s birding adventures. But Birder’s Rules, written by Nicholas Lund, takes a totally different approach.
It’s a brand new year, and we’re celebrating with old traditions. Were you up late last night? Did you watch the Rose Parade this morning? Did you make resolutions? Did you decide what bird lists you’re going to keep this year?
Starting a new list, or setting a year goal, has a lot to recommend it. Birders are often passionate collectors. We’re no different from someone who collects stamps or teapots—we just collect birds, accumulating a life list. (And we don’t have to find space for our collection, or dust it.)
Thanksgiving is past and we’re fully into the frenetic holiday shopping season. Birding websites and magazines will be running lists of gift ideas for birders—new binoculars, field guides and apps, birding accessories, etc. As a birder myself, I would certainly love to receive one of these items, but most of them are pretty expensive.
I’ve created a (very short) list of bird-related gifts which won’t break your wallet (they’re all under $25), ranging from silly stocking stuffers to practical clothing. These are just the beginning, a source of inspiration, as there are hundreds of bird-related gifts just waiting to be discovered.
Today I was going to write a post about the birding excursion I had planned for the weekend. I expected to show colorful ducks, tricky-to-ID waders, and perhaps some cute little songbirds I saw skulking in the nearby bushes. However…
I sprained my ankle last week. I wish I had a good story to relate, but I simply thought the ground was where it wasn’t. (Happily, I landed between the two thorn bushes!) As you can see, the bump was pretty impressive but the x-rays proved nothing was broken; now it’s simply a matter of time and patience. I’m sitting around with my foot elevated, popping anti-inflamatories and catching up on Facebook. I have to get better soon—our kids and grandkids are coming for Thanksgiving!
Remember that little quiz I posted a while back? The one asking you to define a list of British birding terms? Well, I have ten more words or phrases that are equally incomprehensible to North American birders. Can you figure out what these mean? Answers will appear next week (below the bird quiz).
Is there a bright, new bird at your feeder? Have you suddenly noticed the large number of hawks circling overhead? Perhaps one of your new year’s resolutions is to get more exercise, and you need some motivation. There are plenty of reasons someone decides to start looking at birds. However, once you’ve made the decision, or realized an interest, how do you get started?
Recently, I was chatting with a new acquaintance when I happened to mention that I enjoyed going birding. Her face lit up. It turns out that she and her husband, now retired, were looking for something new that they could do together, and had decided to start watching birds. She had a new pair of binoculars and a field guide, but she was feeling a bit lost. Needless to say, we had a long conversation!
Just as there are different kinds of birds, there are different kinds of birders. What kind of birder are you? I’m sure that as you read through my list, you’ll be able to identify with one or these—or add another “species” that I haven’t thought of. And if you think I had you in mind when I made my list, well, perhaps I did!
Like a raptor on the hunt, this birder makes a beeline for where the action is. They expend a tremendous amount of energy while birding, but they’re always on the bird. They aren’t easily distracted. If someone points out a bird, they’re first on the scene, and all over it.
This past weekend, I discovered the joy of birding all over again. It all started with an email I received as Answerer-of-Emails for our Audubon chapter. It seemed that a group of retired missionaries was holding a reunion at a local conference center, and some of them wanted to go birding. Could we offer any advice?
I looked at the dates, then checked my calendar. Nothing vital was scheduled for that morning. So I wrote back and explained that sure, we could offer advice, but perhaps they would rather have a few local birders on hand to lead the trip?
I was so excited—I was flying to Washington to visit our daughter and her family. Of course, the main point of the trip was to hug our baby granddaughter, but I was also hoping to do a bit of birding while in a different state. The problem was, I didn’t know a single birder near Everett (north of Seattle), I didn’t know where the good birding sites were, and even if I did, the roads were unfamiliar enough (and traffic crazy enough) that I was sure I’d get lost.
I admit to feeling a bit smug. My Christmas shopping is done, the gifts are wrapped and delivered, and I can relax with a cup of tea and simply enjoy the season. However, I realize a lot of people are still wracking their brains for the perfect present for someone. I can’t help you with Aunt Milley who has everything, but I do have some ideas for any birders on your list. Happily, birders are easy to shop for. Pretty much anything bird-related is bound to be a hit.