Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Happened While I Was on the Couch

Last Thursday was my first post-op visit with my podiatrist, and I discovered that in the week I'd been on the couch, binge-watching Breaking Bad (Jesse Pinkman is such a piece of work! What a whiner!), Spring had arrived. Trees are in full flower in my area, daffodils and iris are budding, and life is returning to the world.

Mr. ShellHawk, amateur birder (never call him a birdwatcher!) keeps the bird feeders full. He enjoys it so much, he joined the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count this year. 

We're located in a migration corridor, so we get to see numerous birds on their way to and from wherever. Yesterday, I took a bunch of pics of our feeder. Only a couple turned out well, and here's one:
That's a purple finch in (I think) breeding colors. I'm hoping we get another oriole or two come through, like they did last year. After reading The Big Year, (the movie was completely different from the book, so don't be fooled!) I begin to have a better appreciation for the little guys who come to visit our feeders!
If you're at all interested in another time-sucking, potentially very expensive, and highly competitive hobby, namely birding (not birdwatching, which is a different thing, entirely), pick up a Sibley's Guide (the gold standard of birding field guides) or a National Geographic Guide (also very good), hang up a few bird feeders, and start working on identifying what comes to your feeders.

While you're learning the basics about birding, take the time to start prepping to go out into "the field" and read some tips on hiking. There's nothing worse for other, more experienced birders than someone who comes along on a day hike with no food or water, a hat, or sunscreen. It's also particularly important to "train" for hiking if you've been sedentary for a long time. Coming home from a ten mile hike after not doing more than walking to the mailbox for the last ten years is pretty brutal, so start slow and build your way up to longer hikes.

You should also read up on birding etiquette. You don't want to be that jerk that ruins a birding trip for others because you don't know how to behave. It's a small community, and you'd be surprised how often you see the same people, over and over, who have flown in from another coast just to get that one bird on their list. They will not look kindly on you blowing that sighting after they've spent hundreds of dollars in hotel and airfare to see that bird!

Once you've done that, you might think of joining a trip sponsored by the local chapter of your Audubon Society. You'll get to meet others with more experience, and get to know where and how to look for birds. Above all, it will get you out of the house and moving, and engaged with the world around you. If your kids are a little older, and understand the importance of being quiet, you might take them along, too, if you can pry them away from the XBox, that is...

1 comment:

  1. Still waiting for sign of spring. The daffodils look ready to dive back into the ground!
    It sounds like things are getting better for you.


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