Milestone 100

Birders are strange, at least in the eyes of non-birders. We have birds on our brains around the clock, straining our ears for their vocalizations from the first waking moment until we drift off to sleep (there could always be an owl hooting in the middle of the night). We are forever alert to winged motion and bird voices, scan the land and sky incessantly, and even interrupt conversations with our interlocutors in order to identify a sight or sound (an irritating behavior our spouses have to tolerate, but we might lose friends over).

Ornithophile sind schräge Vögel, wenigstens in den Augen derer, die nicht auf Vögel achten. Wir sind rund um die Uhr auf Vögel versessen, vom Moment des Aufwachens, wenn wir die Ohren spitzen, um ihren Gesang zu hören, bis zum Einschlafen (da könnte ja eventuell nachts eine Eule rufen). Wir achten ständig auf Flügelschläge und Vogelstimmen und unsere Augen suchen Land und Luft ab, ja wir unterbrechen sogar unsere Gesprächspartner (ein irritierendes Verhalten, das unsere Gatten tolerieren müsssen, aber Freundschaften kosten mag).

We are the people who have trouble leaving the house without binoculars, and if you see someone with looking glasses wrapped around their chest and a camera slung across their shoulder, the likelihood of facing a birder is high. This might even happen in a city. When we are skimming building façades, we aren’t spying on your private life (we tend to be little interested in humans), but we are trying to recognize what is clambering up the wall or perching on the gable.

Wir sind die Menschen, die Probleme haben, das Haus ohne Fernglas zu verlassen, und wenn Dir jemand mit Feldstecher und Kamera über den Weg läuft, ist die Wahrscheinlichkeit hoch, daß es sich um einen Vogelliebhaber handelt. Dies mag sogar innerhalb der Stadt passieren. Wenn wir die Fassaden eines Gebäudes untersuchen, bespitzeln wir nicht Dein Privatleben (Menschen interessieren uns eher weniger), sondern wir versuchen zu erkennen, wer da an der Wand hochklettert oder auf dem Giebel sitzt.

We get up in the middle of the night, travel out of our way to see a rare bird (though this practice is dubious in the age of climate change), and spend hours prowling and counting birds wherever we go. We are like the proverbial kids in the candy store, especially when we encounter a new bird—a life bird, or lifer. We keep lists of our sightings—or eBird does it for us. If you are not familiar with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s online citizen science tool that documents and analyzes avian data, please check it out here.

Wir stehen mitten in der Nacht auf, fahren zu abgelegenen Orten, um einen seltenen Vogel zu erhaschen (obwohl diese Praxis in Zeiten des Klimawandels dubios ist) und streichen stundenlang durch die Landschaft und zählen Vögel. Wir fühlen uns wie das sprichtwörtliche Kind im Süßwarenladen, besonders wenn wir einen Vogel zum ersten Mal im Leben sehen. Wir führen Listen unserer Sichtungen, oder eBird tut es für uns. Wenn Du noch nicht mit diesem Programm des Cornell Labors der Ornithologie vertraut bist, das Daten von Amateurforschern speichert und auswertet, kannst Du hier klicken.

Some birders are more into lists than others. They monitor not only life lists, but yearly or even monthly lists, trying to exceed their previous records. I try not to allow lists to control my life, but they seem to appeal to some innate human need to organize, so I’m not immune. My principal goal, however, is to spend time in nature, to learn about bird song and behavior, and to watch them in their habitat.

Manche Vogelliebhaber lieben Listen mehr als andere. Sie überwachen nicht nur Lebenslisten, sondern auch jährliche oder sogar monatliche Listen, und versuchen, ihre vorherigen Rekorde zu übertreffen. Ich versuche, mein Leben nicht von Listen bestimmen zu lassen, doch irgendwie scheinen sie unserer angeborenen Tendenz zum Organisieren zuzusagen, weshalb ich nicht immun bin. Doch Hauptsache für mich ist es, Zeit in der Natur zu verbringen, den Gesang und das Verhalten der Vögel zu studieren sowie sie in ihrer Umwelt zu beobachten.

But thanks to eBird, I can be aware at any moment how many birds I have seen at any given time and location. Or when I have passed the 100 species mark for the year. I was gratified to learn that with increasing interest in all things feathered, it takes less time each year to reach this milestone. In 2020, it happened on February 2nd. Fear not. I will not ask you to read about or look at images of 100 different birds, but I’m merely sharing the portraits of some of the winged wonders which have brightened the new year and have given wings to my soul.

Doch dank eBird kann ich allezeit wissen, wie viele Vögel ich an einem beliebigen Ort zu einer beliebigen Zeit gesehen habe. Oder zu welchem Zeitpunkt im Jahr ich 100 verschiedenen Arten begegnet bin. Es war befriedigend zu erfahren, daß mein wachsendes Interesse für alles Federartige dazu geführt hat, daß ich diesen Meilenstein jedes Jahr etwas früher erreiche. 2020 passierte es am 2. Februar. Keine Angst. Ich werde nicht von Dir verlangen, 100 verschiedene Vogelbilder oder -namen anzuschauen oder durchzulesen. Ich zeige lediglich Porträts einige der beschwingten Wesen, die das neue Jahr verschönert, und meiner Seele Flügel verliehen haben.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover cursor over it (the top photo features a male Hooded Merganser).

Zum Vergrößern, das Bild bitte anklicken. Um den Titel zu lesen, mit der Maus darüber schweben (das obige Photo zeigt einen männlichen Kappensänger).

91 thoughts on “Milestone 100

  1. Wir hier haben Ornitho.de um die gesichteten Vögel zu melden und zu archivieren.
    Ansonsten kann ich bestätigen, dass wir sozusagen Hans guck in die Luft verkörpern 😅
    Die Stockente scheint für euch da drüben das gleiche zu sein wie für uns die Ringschnabelente. Etwas ganz Besonderes 😊
    Sei herzlich gegrüßt,
    Brigitte

    Liked by 3 people

  2. We do not consider ourselves “birders,” but Alie will frequently call me to the window when one of our friends lands in the pond, and I am pretty sure that is also a hooded merganser in my photo file [they only stopped by once]. We frequently slow the car down to see our local burrowing owls [February 2 in Cape Coral is “Ground Owl Day.”] Maybe we are birders. 🙂
    I enjoyed your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my photos. And I think you and your wife are birders. If you pay attention to, slow down the car for, and appreciate them, that counts. 😊
      I absolutely adore Burrowing Owls. Can’t get enough of them. and take faaar too many photos.
      Happy birding,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We keep a manual list for each visit to a birding site, and for each vacation which includes an element of birding. We don’t do an annual list, but I know it would take us several months to score a century as we have many fewer species here in the UK than you enjoy in the States. Of course one of the joys of birding is that they can surprise you, a species popping up somewhere totally unexpected … on which note, it would be nice if something – anything – feathered stopped off in our back garden (yard), but sadly miracles have been thin on the ground in 2020 ☹.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I happened to get introduced to eBird right as I was getting started with birding, so it has always been very convenient to enter my sightings and have them keep track of all the statistics. But I know many birders who keep their own manual records. Whatever works!
      I hope you will receive some unexpected visitors in your garden. If you keep putting out food, word will spread around.
      I’m curious–how many species of birds did you encounter in New Zealand, and how many of them were life birds?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh, interesting question. I’ll get back to you on the numbers (Mrs P has the data secreted somewhere). What sticks in the mind however – other than seeing a few iconic species like the kiwi, penguins and parrots [including Lady Kaka and her hapless suitors] – was how well birds introduced from here in the UK were doing there. House sparrows are suffering a massive decline here, but over in NZ we were falling over them. And song thrushes … it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen one in UK, but they seem widespread in NZ. The way things are going we’ll soon be contacting the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with the plea of “Please miss, can we have our birds back?” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • UPDATE on my earlier comment. We saw 86 species in total, of which 55 were new to our Life List. The rest we’d seen either in Australia, or are British birds “exported” by colonists. It’s not a huge number, and we certainly missed out on a few due to a couple of trips to bird sanctuaries that were cancelled thanks to the foul weather. Your question has prompted me to add a new page to my blog listing all the birds we saw, in case any potential visitors to NZ happen across my musings in the future. The listing is here: https://newzealandplatypus.wordpress.com/birds-and-other-animals-seen-on-our-trip/

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s an interesting list, thank you for letting me know. Many of the names are completely alien to me.
        And I continue to belive that It’s not the absolute number that counts, although we all love to see new birds. You had some very memorable avian encounters, and I enjoyed them vicariously.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. All those birds! While I love birds, I am not at the level where I keep lists or race off to see a rare bird. However, I salute those who are. I had a dear friend who was in that category—she died 15 years ago—and I never minded one bit when she went off on a bird binge. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wie schön, wie zart und wie begeisternd (candy-store by nature) Du wieder Lust machst auf das was Deine Seele beflügelt, what a wonderful place I should join in on the other side – thanks for your inspiration – always a pleasure and soul-benefit

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am not an active birder, but it brings me joy to see and to discover birds – and, if possible, take pictures of them! On Monday I had an absolute highlight, as, coming back from downtown Montreal, I saw a snowy owl perched on top of a lamp post beside the highway!
    As this year is still very young, I wish you many more new and exciting sightings!
    Kindest regards,
    Christa

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the good wishes, Christa. I look forward to whatever additional avian marvels this year will hold. A Snowy Owl would be a dream come true for me. How wonderful that you were able to see one. They don’t typically come this far south, except for a few years ago, but I missed that individual.
      Happy birding,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Meinen Herzensdank, liebe Tanja,
    für die Erweiterung meines Vogelhorizonts.
    So viele schöne Vögel und so viele, die es hier nicht gibt.
    Meine Favoriten sind diesmal der Cassingimpel, der Felszaunkönig, die Grauwasseramsel und natürlich – wegen der märchenhaften Blautöne – der Mountain Bluebird.
    Beflügelte Grüße von
    Ulrike 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ich bin es, die Dir von Herzen für Deinen beflügelten Zuspruch dankt, liebe Ulrike. Deine Lieblingsvögel sind auch meine, doch muß ich einen Vogelfreund zitieren, der immer sagt: “Mein Lieblingsvogel ist der, den ich mir gerade anschaue.” Eine gute Einstellung, wie ich finde. Aber auch ich habe einen absoluten Schwachpunkt, wann immer ich einen Mountain Bluebird sehe–wie ein Stück Himmel!
      Alles Liebe,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Joseph, I’m glad you enjoyed my photos and my characterization of birders. I don’t profess to speak for all of them, of course, but I tried to encapsulate what I know about myself and a few others.
      Happy birding to you!

      Like

  8. Your photos are wonderful. Despite the differences in our locations, I could identify six of the group, and I was so pleased to see the mallard included, along with your words of appreciation. They’re one of my favorites, despite being relatively common here.

    I enjoy birds, and always am glad to come across a new species. I enjoy their antics, and it’s fun to follow their nesting and care for their young. I will say that living in a birding hot spot isn’t always fun. People from all over the country travel here during migration times, and when birders are moving in flocks, they can be — well, determined, and intent. Occasionally I get to overhear conversations among serious birders who just have come back from Costa Rica, or Eucuador, or the deep Amazon, and I’m astonished by their competitiveness with one another, not to mention the amount of money they spent on their jaunts. But, different strokes, and all that.

    In the meantime? My feeders are attracting more birds every day! There are so many house finches now that some have finally moved over to my tube feeder — there’s no room left on the platform, especially when the doves move in.

    Like

    • Thank you, Linda. Mallards, despite being among the most common waterbirds, will always be among my favorites, too. If I am sad or in a bad mood and watch them for a while, I can’t help but smile. That is true for many birds, of course, but some of the others are harder to find, or are only present during certain seasons. And mallards have taught me that something very common can be uncommonly beautiful.
      I can relate to your less-than-enthusiastic attitude with regard to certain birders, or groups of birders. We get very single-minded at times, and don’t always pay attention to the activities of non-birders. I have mostly stopped birding in groups for these and other reasons. Maybe it’s my age, but I am turning increasingly into a loner.
      I am glad to hear that your feeders are popular spots with your local birds. Watching our avian visitors in the back yard is part of my daily routine.
      Happy birding!
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great series. I love your heron. I also enjoy seeing the birds of prey on your side of the world as being a city dweller I don’t get to see them at all (although my neighbour on the other side of my apartment building has seen them).

    I wouldn’t call myself a birder per se, but somehow their sound and presence have become a part of my day and when I don’t see a bird, I seriously wonder what’s wrong with the air/ground in my area and worry about their absence.

    Part of the fun is capturing a bird in focus with the camera and identifying it (as though it is a full-time paid job). But the other part is watching the way each individual bird relates to its companion or offspring, and I can’t help but say birds are not just birds with minuscule brains. They have feelings and love for their offspring and each has its own personal character.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Vicki, I’m glad you enjoyed my selection of feathered friends. I think anybody who pays attention to and appreciates birds is a birder. There are, of course, different degrees of time commitment and/or obsession, but we are all part of the bird fan club.

      And I know how much it means to you to see them on your balcony, and to aid their well-being by providing them with food and drink. I think it’s the best pastime in the world, and by paying attention to them, we also notice other aspects of nature. I can’t imagine a life now without birds.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved your post, Tanja, I can relate. I hope I’ve not lost any friends over the years 😲 but I do have an awesome hubby who tolerates. 😍

    Wonderful gallery of birds, three not on my life list (Cassin’s Finch, Greater White-fronted Goose, Northern Goshawk). Hopefully, I’ll see at least one of them this fall when in your area! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Donna, and I know I’m not the only birder with a tolerant spouse. We once birded a spot in Colorado that drew a lot of seekers because of a rarity, and my husband pulled out a camp chair and read, while those of us with binoculars inspected every nook and cranny. One of the other birders took one look at him and stated: “You must be a non-birding spouse. I have one just like you at home.” 🙂

      I hope you will find some of your wish birds during your Colorado trip! And many others before then!
      Happy birding,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Tanja,
    I am glad I waited till the weekend to view (and read) this post slowly and with great pleasure 🙂 While I personally don’t keep (“official”) lists, I can relate to so many of the emotions when viewing our beautiful avian friends. And I agree, I tend to have far more interest in birds than humans 😉 Wishing you and your husband a wonderful weekend ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, am glad that you waited and took the time to read this post. Takami. 😊 Thank you for doing so and for sharing your thoughts. It’s a little sad that we like most birds better than many humans, but I find it perfectly understandable, considering all the horrible things we do all the time.
      I hope you are enjoying a pleasant weekend as well. We have more snow in the forecast!
      Best wishes,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I resemble all those remarks. Luckily my hubby is a birder too so we are both erratic. Couple of weeks ago, we were in our PJs watching tv but getting ready for bed when we heard something. We ran outside and there were 6 barred owls in our backyard just a hootin’ and a hollarin’. It was amazing. 11pm. Who could sleep now? It’s just fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s a nice collection right there, Tanja. I know what you mean about birder’s obsession. While I am not a birder at all, I do like seeing them and photographing one when I have the chance. Quite a number of years ago we had a Great Grey Owl visit here locally and people from all the way down the east coast were making pilgrimages to see it. Up the coast not so much as it is generally a bird of the north anyway. That’s great hoodie reflection shot. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Steve. I’m glad you liked the hoodie. Based on the numbers of photos I have taken of them, they are among the most photogenic birds. 🙂
      I would have been among those birders making a pilgrimage to see that owl! I have made a few of my own, though I am getting to the point where I have to justify traveling long distances in order to see a single bird. I think we nature lovers need to try to do our part to limit negative impacts on the environment, but nobody seems to want to talk about that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree about our impact as naturalists, Tanja. I don’t think our physical visit is much of a problem if we respect the land and wildlife, but the travel certainly does add to some environmental degradation. Of course, our sheer numbers can sometimes be responsible for loving a place to death. It’s hard to go far on foot and while we enjoy our surroundings at home that isn’t always enough to satisfy our love of nature and being outdoors. I don’t travel much, my bio claims everything I photograph with a few exceptions is within 50 miles of home, but that’s more out of desire to be close rather than any ecological consciousness. But at least our activities don’t involve jet skis or land crushing atv’s. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are right, Steve. I hadn’t thought so much about destructive behavior at the actual sites, but more about travel, to them, which for some people involves not only car, but also air travel. And whether we like it or not, both are bad for the environment. You might have heard of the social movement of flight shaming, which started in Sweden, and I have to say that I admire people who make personal sacrifices in order to try to mitigate our impact.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I admire those who are making sacrifices. But I am not a fan of “shaming” for most things. There are a few heinous acts that deserve that and more. But I feel that one of the reasons we have the political divide we are experiencing in this country is partly a result of shaming those who do not act as we believe they should. I think there are better ways to communicate and achieve change.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Tanja, your blog and photographs have me wanting to become a birder! Besides appreciating the beauty and grace of birds, one of the attractions is that birding encourages a deep mindfulness of nature. That’s a gift in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. On my goodness! This so hit home with me! I’ve been so cheerful lately thinking about all the birds coming back soon. I have heard of e bird, but never used it. I tend to just carry my color coded Birds of Massachusetts with me🐦. Thanks for the tip!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Auch hier möchte ich noch mal sagen: wunderschöne Fotos von den vielen schönen Vögeln. Der Habicht bringt mich zum Lächeln. Er sieht ein bißchen putzig aus 🙂 Die Zaunkönige, von denen ihr einige zu haben scheint, sind allerliebst. Auch die Enten sind toll. Schön 🙂 Dann gehst du also nie ohne Feldstecher oder Kamera aus dem Haus? Hauptsache ihr Vogelfreunde stolpert dabei nicht übereinander, wenn ihr in den Himmel guckt 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Tanja, i wonder how can a birder loose a friend. I believe their circle of friends grow more as birders show us those features what common people can’t see in a simple bird.
    As always, your collection of photographs is wonderful!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your nice comment, Dee. I guess one can loose a friend if one person only wants to talk about and look at birds, and if the other person is not interested. Sometimes friends’ interests grow apart, and that is ok. But I like your way of viewing things.
      Best wishes,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

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