It seems like every time I get interested in something new (like quilting), I start to do research only to find I’m the million-and-first person to think about taking up the hobby during the pandemic. Apparently, birdwatching, aka birding, is so hot right now.
Aside: I can’t think of birding without conjuring the image of Walter Berglund in Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom,” which is a fantastic read if you haven’t come across it before. (Note: this post contains affiliate links, so if you happen to purchase something, I’ll get a couple of pennies.)
But I won’t let the whims of the crowd dissuade me from a new pursuit. It makes me feel like a bit of a bandwagon-er, but who’s to say this isn’t my next big hobby? I even became a “friend” of our local National Wildlife Refuge. Woo, hoo!
Besides this fabulous move, I also wangled a couple of “investments” for Christmas gifts, including a spotting scope, a cameraphone adapter and the Audubon Field Guide to Birds, Eastern Region. When we lived in CA, we picked up the Western Region book, not realizing that it would be completely useless to us on this side of the Rockies. Live and learn!
We’ve had a bird feeder up for years, and I’ve come to know some of our visitors, or at least I thought I had. Northern Red Cardinals, both male and female, make frequent appearances, along with sparrows, Carolina Chickadees and Black Tufted Titmice. Previously, I’d see (more accurate: hear) Mourning Doves. And who can forget Wile E. Coyote’s perennial prey?
But I’d never heard of the species that came up when I put one of my first photos into the Merlin bird identification app. It was a Pine Siskin (see below). Not rare or anything, just a new bird for me. I love it. That’s what it’s all about for me — learning, growing and keeping my mind sharp as I grow older.
Do you watch birds? What’s your rarest sighting?