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New Year's Birds

As many of you know, I'm an avid birdwatcher.  But few of you probably understand fully just how much of a bird-geek I am.  So by way of illustration, I offer this:  I keep a list of the birds I see each year, in addition of my life list and some other lists I keep, which I won't go into here, lest I jettison what small scraps of dignity I have left.  My year lists actually serve several purposes.  First, it's fun to see how many different species I can see in a given year (yeah, told you I was a geek).  Also, it can serve as a helpful record of when and where I saw certain things. 

But the main reason I do it is that it compels me to pay attention to the more common birds at least once a year.  Birders often focus on finding rarities, on adding new birds to their life lists.  It becomes easy -- far too easy -- to take the more common stuff for granted.  By keeping my year lists, I make myself go out and search for the common locals that are easily overlooked but well worth finding.  For at least one day each year, I actively look for nuthatches and chickadees, robins and doves.

That's what I did this afternoon.  It's cool and breezy here today, but crystal clear.  And I got out for an hour or so, and did some birding.  It's something I want to do more of this year.  What did I see?  Not a whole lot, but some cool things.  A Cooper's Hawk, a Brown Thrasher, a Hermit Thrush, several species of sparrow, including Fox, Swamp, Field, and White-throated.  I also saw a pair of bluebirds, some cardinals, and a bunch of other things that I'll probably see hundreds times between now and the end of the year.  But for today, every bird was exciting; each one was "new" all over again.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 1st, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
Of course, as a UK birder I am sitting here grinding my teeth in envy at all your 'common' birds which over here would be rarities!

But it's good to be reminded that it's important to look at 'ordinary' birds, too. Sparrows are as common as muck, but they are very attractive, and I get as much enjoyment out of them as out of a rarity.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
Ah, and what I wouldn't give to see a REAL robin, a Hobby, and some wagtails....

Thanks for the comment.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
I saw a beagle today.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. Well, cool...I guess...
Jan. 2nd, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
I swear you and Glenda Larke shared stem cells or something. She took me birdwatching in Malaysia. I was on the South Coast for a few days and there were stacks of Kookaburras. I used to see them everywhere when I was a little girl, but with urban sprawl they become a rarity. It was cool to hear them all laughing away.Maybe I should keep a list. I have a manual but it is hard work when you are going blind and deaf. Lol.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
I miss Kookaburras! Yeah, my hearing and vision are not what they used to be, which makes it that much more challenging every year. But I still enjoy it.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
Happy New Year, David! May it be full of new books and new birds! *grin*

Around my humble abode in a city (Hendersonville, TN), we actually have a fairly nice selection of birds. I've seen cardinals, blue jays and bluebirds, mockingbirds, robins, and a couple kinds of finches. We even had a woodpecker. Then we had the common mallards, canadian geese, herrons, and mudhens around the lake.

Jan. 2nd, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Mark. Happy New Year to you and yours, too.

It always amazes me how much one can see in cities and towns, particularly around small ponds and lakes. Radnor Lake in Nashville is actually one of the best birding spots in the entire state.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
Clearly you are a birder. If I was writing a list it would be something like this: Saw a bird. A dove, I think. And there was a wren, a bluebird and a cardinal. Then some a really strange bird came along with orange and black and white tufts, but the cat ate him.

Perhaps it's better I'm not a birder... Happy New Year!
Jan. 2nd, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, birding isn't for all personality types. But I bet you'd enjoy it. I'm certain your cat would....
Jan. 2nd, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
How cool! We finally got our birdfeeder filled yesterday, so maybe our common bird experiences will increase. My son also got a cool book for Christmas that plays birdsongs for some 300 birds or so. Very neat!
Jan. 2nd, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
Hope your son enjoys the book, and that your feeders attract lots of birds for him (and the rest of you) to look at!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


Australia, Ghost Gum
David B. Coe

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