For a short stretch of time, we lived in South Carolina where we rented a house with a fig tree in the back yard. It stood close to the house, near the kitchen window, so when I washed the dishes I could see the birds eat my dessert for me. My neighbor taught me to how to preserve figs and watermelon rind, but I preferred figs fresh. Just like the birds.
Seeing those pretty little thieves sitting in the fig tree got me interested in birding. I got my husband a nice pair of binoculars, so we could spy on the birds when we took the children to the park.
I was never a serious birder. No matter how many times I looked at those bird identification books, I couldn’t match the pictures with the feathered creatures in the trees. Plus, the birds tended to be too fluttery for me to identify the small crescent-shaped marking on the belly of the males that appears on cloudless days between 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. during the nesting period. The woods are full them, the guidebooks promised, and they’re hard to miss. But miss them, I did.
Mostly I just pointed the binoculars in the direction of the trees, waited for something with wings to fly by. After it landed, I watched it. I recognized a few birds by sight – the cardinal, the blue jay, the tanager, and the redheaded woodpecker. Otherwise, I identified the birds by their colors. I see a gray bird with a white necklace! Oh, look, there’s a brownish bird with spots wearing yellow eye shadow! Occasionally, I let my husband use the binoculars, since I bought them for him. But I didn’t like to let him use them too long; someone needed to watch the children.
I would like to take up birding. My husband, however, shows no enthusiasm for the idea, even though he likes birds and maintains the bird feeder in the back yard. Perhaps if I bought another pair of binoculars, he would like the idea better.
So I’ve taken up a bit of bird watching on the Internet. A few months ago, I was walking through the blog forest, looking for something with wings, when I found myself on Bluebird Blvd. I discovered that a bluebird of sorts lived there; one gifted with a beautiful voice. Sometimes she sings a song so happy the trees bud; sometimes she trills a poem or tweets until you laugh; but she always makes you glad you stopped to listen.
Tomorrow, Courtenay from Bluebird Blvd. will fly over to my blog and sing a song of words for you. I’m so pleased. Come back tomorrow and I guarantee you’ll be pleased, too.
19 thoughts on “Birdwatching”
I am the same kind of bird watcher you are. Other than the obvious ones, I identify them by color. I watch them while they nibble on my fruits and berries. I watch them while they make a mess on my patio. It’s all worth it and it’s cheaper than therapy!
Add their singing to their beauty and you have something magical.
I’m pretty terrible at identification also – I try, but I’m never 100% sure I have it right. Much easier over in the US at times – I’ll never forget my hubby’s excitement at seeing a male Cardinal for the first time ever. Now, if I can see a kingfisher, I’ll be forever happy!
It makes me glad to know that others also struggle with identification. It’s too bad they don’t just wear name tags.
Yearstricken! I am so tickled! And you are so wonderful!
Here’s something funny— my grandparents were ardent birders. In fact, my grandmother really wanted me to become an amateur birder. (I love ornithology, in theory.)
Like you, I’m not great at identification. (Read: I’m terrible.) And, like you, I just start making up things that I see. I found myself nodding along and laughing at this piece— SUCH a familiar feeling!
And then I got to the end. Your introduction of my guest post is so lovely and so thoughtful and so unexpected, I may pop from excitement and/or surprise. (Probably both.)
Thank you for being you. Thank you for being such a wonderful wordcraft-driven writer that I had no idea where this was leading until I saw my name. Gosh, you’re good!
Gosh, I’m happy. Thank you. You really are a wonder!
I wanted to post this early this morning, but they still expect me to show up at school and teach. It’s annoying sometimes.
I’m glad you were excited and surprised. I think a lot of people will feel the same way tomorrow.
I am bird-identification challenged. If it’s not a robin or magpie I simply have no idea what it is.
I know robins, but you’ve got me on magpies.
We’re wild for birds at our house. We’re hoping to have nest #4 in our rose vines this summer.
My sister is with the New York City Audubon. Her specialty is the herons in New York Harbor.
Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
You sound like one of those people who actually recognize and name more than a handful of birds. I need to sign up for one of the bird walks the local nature center sponsors.
It’s especially nice that you and your sister are both birders.
All the figs here tend to get eaten by large, noisy parrots! They are at least easy to spot and identify though.
Bluebird Blvd looks like a lovely person and a great blog – looking forward to her guest post.
Parrots are lovely to look at; I wonder if they are lovely to have around.
You will enjoy Courtenay, I’m sure.
Looking forward to Bluebird’s post. Sometimes the birds eat the figs… and sometimes, we eat the birds… some of us are only able to properly identify them when they are fried in breadcrumbs. But there are so many ways to get to know a bird. I have some very beautiful ones outside my window who wake me each morning with song. My cat, Nechama follows them devotedly, and watches their every move. She is able to recognize them without the binoculars… but it is only rarely that she actually catches one. When she does, though, she always brings the prey to share it with me. My reactions are disappointing. She thinks I don’t care for birds enough.
ShimonZ, this is such a humorous piece of writing. I love it.
I once had a cat who was a great hunter. She often brought me the day’s catch to admire – birds or mice. I’m sure my lack of enthusiasm was a disappointment to her as well.
You would surmise that I adore this post! DO IT! BE A BIRDER! 🙂
You are a friend of Nature, so it stand to reason you would enjoy anything about birds. I must put more effort into birding.
I love birds, too, but have never been a serious birder. I hope you do become one and tell us all about that gray bird with the yellow eye-liner–she sounds pretty. I have a pair of binoculars that sits on the self most of the time now that I carry a camera everywhere. I think what I need to do is design a system for carrying everything. Or take turns.
I’ve read about those combo binocular/cameras. I don’t know if they are any good, but they sound nice.