The Joys of Birding

Hardly a day goes by without me birding, either by watching avian visitors at our feeders in the yard, or by setting out with binoculars and camera in tow. Non-birders can’t imagine why anybody might spend hours looking for and rejoicing over feathered beings. I sometimes wonder, too, why I don’t get bored spending vast stretches of time looking at animals I have seen countless times, but I never grow tired of them. Common representatives, such as sparrows, finches, and chickadees delight as much as rarer individuals, and observing the widespread varieties over and over provides the opportunity to learn about their daily, monthly, and yearly cycles and behaviors, and affords fascinating insights into their lives.

Many birders keep lists, mental or actual, of the species encountered and I would be lying if I claimed indifference to the thrill of adding a new kind, a so-called life-bird, or “lifer”. While this is not a prerequisite for the enjoyment of the avifauna, it contributes excitement and incentive to its exploration. Months may pass without the surprise of a novelty, then might be followed by unusually high numbers. The end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 represent such an unusually productive period for me – 10 lifers. I owe other observers and birding friends thanks who first found and documented these species on “eBird”, a reporting and monitoring website linked with the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The collaboration and support among fellow bird lovers is impressive.

While I generally attempt to capture these new birds with my camera I don’t always succeed, and frequently the quality of the photos leaves much to be desired. I am not showing the Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus), Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), and White-winged Scoter(Melanitta fusca), but am sharing the remainder of the ten winged wonders who have brightened and enriched this otherwise dark and challenging period in my life. I hope they will bring cheer to you as well.

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)

Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)

Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor)

Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii)

Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)

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20 thoughts on “The Joys of Birding

  1. I am enamored with the Varied Thrush! We long to see another soon; it was in Glacier NP’s Trail of Cedars that we heard the eerie song of our first, then found the singer. Great bird to put on the Life List. Were these birds you added in your area? Or did you travel to them?

    We too lean on the findings of other eBirders. We are a wacky lot and are all hopelessly addicted to feathers. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A non-birder, I nevertheless like looking at pretty birds when the opportunities are there.

    Once, about ten years ago, I was waiting for a bus that I took to work. In some vines that were growing near the bus stop was a beautiful little hummingbird. It was only a foot away from me. I don’t think I’d ever seen one before, certainly not that close. I haven’t forgotten that bird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you enjoy your avian encounters, Neil, even if you don’t consider yourself a birder. I think birds are amazing creatures, and am convinced a lot more people would turn into birders if they took the time to look at them more closely.
      Who knows, maybe you will convert one of these days?! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I too get a thrill when I encounter a never-before-seen bird, even the common ones.

    And there’s something immensely calming and reassuring about the habits and observations of the avian variety. I find birds fascinating. The way they care for their offspring is no less than humans to a certain degree.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Tanja! Us birders of feathers flock together!! Our Creator did bestow us a wonderful gift of our unique and beautiful birds. Although being only an amateur birder for about ten years, I find it a thrilling hobby that has given me a sense of peace and patience in my heart and soul while going through the throws of life’s different stresses. With birds, it’s just me and them and Mother Nature all around. Almost heaven!

    Now, ask my family and friends what they think of me and my love of birding. I’m afraid of the responses you might get! They may (still) think I am a little cuckoo! 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Birds are fascinating to observe, and though I do not keep lists of them, I too have spent hours watching them strut along searching for food, wading into pools, or swimming in circles. It is such a relaxing way to spend time with nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Birds are fascinating ! I find them slightly scary from times as well but that’s probably due to watching Hitchcock’s Birds too many times…
    Me and my little daughter were watching the birds last weekend in a rare moment when she was quiet for a minute or two and the birds came really close. There’s one bird here that looks like a cool little creature. With the hair on his head standing up like a punker when he moves. Very cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yellow-billed loon! What a great name.

    I love this post and the sentiment behind it. I’m looking out for birds everywhere I go and love seeing them on the feeders at the weekend, especially when they are ones I’ve seen before – I know that generations of garden birds keep bringing each year’s newbies to my feeders and that is perhaps more satisfying than glimpsing the rarest of rare birds.

    Liked by 2 people

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