It’s late at night (oops…early morning) and there are few words left for me to say on this day other than I love to watch birds. I love to photograph birds. This is a mindful, restful hobby and I urge you to give it a try. I am grateful for the hobby of birding, or birdwatching as many say.
Good night and sweet dreams.
I usually prefer to post photos of birds in their natural habitat, but this weekend marked the beginning of the annual Feeder Watch program that is run by the Cornel University Lab of Ornithology. That means every week from now til April, I and thousands more people like me throughout the US and Canada will be watching and documenting the numbers and types of birds that come to our back yard feeders each day. Each week we submit our data to the lab where they will interpret the results to use for a variety of purposes. For over twenty five years Cornel University has been following winter migration patterns of birds of every kind. The fun part of their research is that they use ordinary people like myself to gather and submit data on the birds that frequent our yards. Each year those of us who participate and contribute to the research receives a quarterly publication chock full of information on birds, how to identify them, what the research reveals about climate change and irruptions (when brids fly far out of their normal migratory patterns, which usually suggests a shortage in food supply forcing birds to search outside their normal range.) Besides feeling like I am doing a little something to contribute to scientific research, I have found bird watching to be a mindful practice that calms me and helps me focus on the present moment. When watching birds, especially when I’m concentrating on identifying and counting them during my scheduled “watch” sessions, I forget about the cares that weigh me down. Birds are beautiful warblers and hooters and screechers, and if one watches over a period of time–a season–one begins to recognize personalities of individual birds as well as characteristics of the diffierent species. If you are interested in bird watching, or if you have young children who may be interested in birding activities, google Cornel University Lab of Ornithology to find the many programs they offer. Also check out http://www.ebird.com to help identify birds. This is a fun hobby, one I have enjoyed for a few years now. I am grateful for the Cornel University Lab of Ornithology and how their feederwatch program has helped me develop a deeper enjoyment and understanding of birds.
I’ve probably expressed gratitude for birds before, but the fact of the matter is I can’t get enough of them. I have become a bona fide bird watcher! Their plumage, their song, their playfulness . . . and at times oneriness, makes bird watching a great way to while away the hours. I am grateful for the enjoyment that birds bring to my days. 🙂
Not too many years ago, I thought that bird watching was definitely one of the most boring hobbies EVER! How could someone sit for hours watching birds do their thing? As I’ve grown older however, I’ve discovered that birds are quite entertaining. I am learning to recognize each warble and match the sound to its species, which I am also learning to recognize. My makeshift feeder and baths are a magnet to birds of every size and color. And there is definitely a pecking order for which bird rules our deck at any given time. I have become one of those who can spend hours watching their antics. With a camera always close at hand, I have captured some of their character and beauty. Even Richard has been charmed by “my” birds since we have settled in our new place. I know they will bring joy and color to our yard for as long as we are here. I am grateful for the joy of birdwatching! 🙂
Have you ever noticed how the simple things in life are the real day-brighteners? The older I get, the more I eschew the material-hoarding lifestyle that seems rampant in today’s American culture. Rather, I (we~R and I talked about this just last night) prefer a walk in the woods, time with the children and grandchildren, settling down with a good book, a phone call from a friend, bird watching and a host of other activities, all of which lift my spirits and imbue me with a sense of wonder and awe . . . and hope. Yesterday I found myself in the doldrums; academic books, notes and such strewn everywhere. Late in the afternoon I defiantly pushed myself away from my desk, took up my camera and left the apartment. I was only gone for about 30 minutes, but in that thirty minutes I came upon a beautiful blooming tree. Sitting in its shade, I breathed in deeply, savoring every aroma tinged breath. I shot a few photos. Spirits lifted, I returned to my studies with renewed vigor and peace of mind. I know what is really important . . . and what is not. I am grateful for a beautiful flower on an otherwise gloomy day.
Every morning I awake to a cacophony of birds tweeting back and forth just outside my bedroom window. The large holly tree attracts birds of all kinds in droves. The birds’ chirping make for a delightful alarm clock for me. During the winter (when this photo was taken) the berries must be some sort of delicacy because there will be hundreds of birds (literally) in the tree flitting about and denuding branches of these bright red morsels. Robins and Waxwings are the birds I see at that time of year. This spring I have seen numerous Morning Doves along with gorgeous Cardinals. When the day comes that I have a yard of my own, I will surely put up a bird feeder near a window where I can watch and listen. I am grateful for birds of all kinds.