Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Mid Life Birder




NOTE: For those of you following the peregrine falcons' the post is directly below this one.


If anyone would have told me a year ago today that I would be spending the majority of my weekends trudging through woods, rivers and cemeteries in search for birds, I would have told them they were sadly mistaken. Sure I liked birds, just as we all do, but I was far too busy in my day to day life to pay much attention to them.

That all changed May of last year with the help of my neighbors and nature walks I started taking to get away from it all. I was really getting concerned about the environment at this time and wanted to do my part to make my small acre of land a little greener. My neighbors have this fantastic garden that I would go to in search of ideas. Not only do they have fantastic flora, but fauna as well. I saw my first hummingbird at their feeder and was in awe. Who'd have known there was a bird this tiny and magnificent. I remember watching him and feeling a little saddened to realize that there was a creature on this earth as lovely as that and I had never even seen it.


Wanting a little piece of that heaven in my own yard, I went out and bought a few feeders and there began my journey into birding. At first, everyday was a new adventure and a new bird. I will never forget the first bird to discover my suet feeder. I was ecstatic and had to share my glory with my neighbor. She asked me what the bird looked like and I explained it was black with jewel like tones, a yellow beak and a wonderful song. She paused for a moment and told me the bird was a European Starling and I had better stop putting out suet because they would just waste it. I was perplexed by this because at that time I was thrilled that a bird so exotic would want to be in my yard. Heck, this bird came all the way from Europe and here he was in my small town sampling my bird treats!! HA, now I know what she meant but at that time I was thrilled.


While I enjoyed watching the birds from my back yard, I yeared for a little more adventure and a lot more species. I joined the Audubon Society for field trips, bought some new binoculars and recently purchased a camera to properly begin my new hobby. I must admit that most of the time, I go home with the same species list and the same pictures, and while this is frustrating, I wouldn't miss it for the world. Birding to me is my anti anxiety pill, my anti depressant pill and my anti everything else pill the pharmaceutical companies have developed to lesson human pain and anguish. All I need to do is watch the splendor of a bird, even one as plain as the crow and all of that stress melts away and my mind is clear and focused.


One of the many beauties of birding is there is so much out there to see. According to 10000 Birds there are approximately 10000 birds on this planet of ours. Obviously we here in North America only make up a small portion of that 10000, but more than enough to keep us searching for the new lifer all the way into our golden years. Being fairly new to birding gives me an advantage somewhat because there are so many birds out there I have yet to see. This is why I continue to trudge through woods, rivers and brush. It is for that one opportunity to hear a bird sing its first spring song, to watch a hawk soar gracefully in the sky and to get a glimpse of the hummingbird in my own back yard. It is for that single moment for when it is just I and the bird.

31 comments:

Mildred said...

What a lovely post. Not until six years ago when we moved here did I pay much attention to birds. We have such a variety here in our woods near the creek. I have binoculars and hope to get out this Spring and take some photos to share. Tomorrow I will be posting about a past President who is a birder. I hope you have a great day. I love your photos today.

Abe Lincoln said...

These are all excellent photographs. You have some that I don't have or have never seen here before.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo

Cam said...

Nicely said, and I know what you mean! I'm a nature walker too; I'm happy to say that my dd has been on countless nature walks already at 3 years old :)

MaineBirder said...

Superb post telling how you got started in birding. Wonderful photos to go along with it too!

Nature has such a calming effect and could never match a man made pill.

Jayne said...

What a lovely post Kallen. It truly *is* a natural antidepressant, isn't it? So glad it brings you so much joy. :c)

Beth said...

I enjoyed this very much. Thanks for sharing your journey into nature with us.

Chad and Brandy said...

I know exactly what you mean. No matter what is going on in life, it only takes a few minutes out on the deck watching the birds for everything to melt away. The only problem is that it is a very addicting and potentially expensive hobby. For the satisfaction and enjoyment it brings, it is well worth it.

Happy Birding!!

Steve B said...

My start was much the same. As a teen, when I needed to get away from it all, I headed to the woods. Around 20, I became intensely curious about the birds I was seeing, they must have names besides Chickadee, Robin and Blue Jay. You are doing very well and soon you will be getting calls from frends and neighbors because you are the expert.

Shellmo said...

It ws interesting to learn how you got interested! And I loved your descriptions on how you felt seeing your first birds, etc. Bird watching really is an addictive hobby in my opinion - and hit has made me more responsible in my conservation efforts. I had my backyard certified as a backyard habitat by the NWF - and I'm going to do it for our cabin up north too. P.S. You always make me laugh- but in a good way! Birding is fun and can be FUNNY!

Rich said...

You are a very good writer as well as photographer and birder. Have a good day.

Craig Glenn said...

Well Done! This was an execlent post. I is so great to get to know our fellow blogger's/birders. Especially when we are allowed inside to see that we are not alone in our own ups and downs. Trust me I have them too. If you are every feeling bad about your birding ability go back and read some of my post. I have rewritten so many from mistaken identities and misspellings, that I have to laugh at myself.

If it were not so theraputic and fun I would have quite a long time ago!

Thanks for sharing!
Craig

Deborah Godin said...

You've written so eloquently about what touches so many of us who love birds and everything outdoors!!

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Kallen,
Thanks for such a lovely post that captures what birding does for Warren and I each time we walk out the door with bins in hand. It really is the best medicine.

L&W

Kelly said...

Lovely and from the heart. It's our job to protect these beautiful creatures. I think we get more from them than do from us!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I'm definitely a rookie 'birder.' I only started last Summer--but LOVE it. It does get frustrating because I'm not so patient. AND--I like to see 'new' birds. When I don't, I tend to get frustrated. BUT--then I'm right back out there looking UP.. It's amazing!!!!

Like blogging, this birding is totally addicting!!!
Hugs,
Betsy--your 'birder' friend!

mon@rch said...

So glad to hear you have gotten the birding bug!

The Early Birder said...

In the words & pictures I can feel the joy & excitement you have gained on your journey which has only just begun. Never forget that without the common species life would not be so fulfilling. FAB

ShySongbird said...

I do agree that involving oneself in birds and nature in general is so rewarding. It has always given me a tremendous amount of pleasure and a sense of serenity that can be easily lost in this often harsh world.
I did smile at your comments about the Starling. Here in the UK they visit my garden in gangs (I call them the 'bovver' boys) and devour all the bird food they can get their beaks on! They are a noisy lot and squabble with each other all the time, however they do have beautiful plumage and can be very comical to watch.
All good wishes from the UK.

RuthieJ said...

Nice post Kallen! You will never get bored learning more about birds and nature. I haven't yet and I'm WAY OLDER than you!! ;-)

Bird Girl said...

I'm so glad you found a hobby in 'birding', Kallen! Once you discover them - it's impossible to be bored or uptight - they provide such amazing antics and lots of FUN! I like the name of your blog, too!

ramblingwoods.com said...

This is an excellent post and the photos are great too. You and I are 'birds of a feather'....Michelle

kden said...

I enjoyed your story about how you got into birding. I work for a woman who is a BIG birder and although can't get out anymore still has a window seat and plenty of stories to tell.

She had a Fox Sparrow visit her city dwelling (she said it's rare) for 17 years. He then passed the torch to another Fox when he died. Last winter I spotted one in my yard so now we have something in common. She likes to think that they are different birds but I like to think that her bird followed me home and we are sharing it. I also started making suet and feeding all the sparrows and starlings in the neighborhood. I enjoy it though.

James said...

I love how you describe birding as the ant-everything else pill. Amazing that such a restorative thing is free.

Great pictures, too.

dAwN said...

Excellent Kallen,
loved your story!
I too love the feeling I get from birding...being out in nature...soaking it all in. Renewing and refreshing our spirit.

Rottlady of the Ozarks said...

I found your blog through The Birder's Report and am so glad I did. It sounds like we had similar starts. Your pictures are wonderful and I plan on keeping an eye out for your future posts! Nice to meet you!

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Lisa commented. Now it's Birdcouple's other half's turn. What a wonderful essay. Can't tell you how much I enjoyed learning of your experience.

My own journey was much more, uh, typical - a young kid into birds and nature, got out of it as a teenager, got married, had kids, and then in my late 20s, began rediscovering birds, nature and the great outdoots...

Great to be here, however we got here!
-W

Mary said...

I love your birding story :-) It reminds me a great deal of the way that I got hooked on birds. Those first few experiences are so amazing, you just get deeper and deeper in debt and bird seed! It is a great hobby to watch birds and helps us be aware of how much we effect their lives with how we live ours.

Kallen305 said...

Thank you all for your comments. I cannot tell you how appreciative I am to have met a bunch of fellow birding blogers out here in cyber space.

Most of the people in my day to day life don't bother much with birds so it can be rather frustrating when you want to show them a cool bird photo or tell them a cool bird fact and they would much rather talk about the last esisode of American Idol.

HA! I have finally met my people!! ;o)

DDolan1075 said...

It's funny, we have alot in common. I just started birding about the same time as you, due to a medial problem that kept me at home for a week after being hospitalized. I saw some Bluebirds and Goldfinches that really caught my eye. I started to birdwatch and then when I decided that I needed to take care of myself, I started to exercise. Well, birding just became a big part of my life and I do it to relax and have a fuller life.

You have a very nice blog and I will come back often.

http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/DDolan1075/

Leedra said...

When out in nature it is hard to think about ourselves. I forget myself when I photograph flowers too. I think we all start slow, and then we really get the birding bug.

Leedra’s Photos For Fun

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Photography By Leedra

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

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