As my first contribution to this blog, I think a good place to start is to tell you a bit about where I bird…the Ottawa Valley, and anywhere else I happen to be. Why I bird…it’s become a way of seeing that is now second nature. And when I bird… anytime I look around me.
If you’re a birder, you know exactly what I mean. What started as a passing interest slowly over time grew to a passionate hobby, and graduated to a lifestyle that defines my daily routine, sending me madly off in all directions, and teaching me all sorts of things about Nature and it’s care that I never guessed I would give a hoot about.
You know you’re a birder when friends and acquaintances start asking about birds that they have seen, and they expect that you can tell them what kind of bird it is. And you can. Usually.
You know you’re a birder when your idea of a good time is grabbing a hot mug of coffee, jumping into the car, bird books, binocs and camera on the seat beside you, and driving for five hours over the same small geographical section of a small island, and counting every single bird of every single species that you see, within that same delineated area.
And you find yourself yelling to a Pileated Woodpecker, “Hey, Woody! Get over here!! Now! Flap it!” so you can count it as part of your area for the Christmas Bird Count.
You wouldn’t dream of counting a bird you saw across the road from your defined area, because that would be cheating, and that’s just, well, wrong! And the flock wouldn’t like it either.
And somehow, all of the birdy behaviour, all of the little jokes, all of the chirps, feathers, foul fowl weather, and fabulous discoveries make it all worthwhile. It’s a way of seeing the world that uplifts, rewards, teaches, and humbles. It’s a way of seeing that slowly became mine.
You know you’re a birder when you think you should have a bumper sticker that says “Caution! Birder on Board. Swerves without Warning, and Stops Suddenly. Stay Back and Keep Quiet. Please.” And you know your true friends will understand.