Saturday, January 26, 2008
Birdfeeding and Birdwatching
Julie Zickefoose's piece, "Restaurant for the Birds" on NPR yesterday is so well written and a pleasure to read. Yes, we can disturb patterns by bird feeding in our backyards but there are larger disruptions such as the one that brought Redpolls south to our feeders in mid-coast Maine this winter. Last week a friend in Nashville called to say she had seen two Whooping Cranes in a nearby area. Today I saw a Scott's Oriole in Union Square Park--a first for New York City. Its been around since December 2007. At least we can witness.
I was introduced to birdwatching by my father. He and my mother are avid bird-watchers. They go on birding holidays to places like the Scottish highlands and Islands to see birds like dotterels. They are not actually "twitchers," nor do they employ twitchers' vocabulary. They simply love birdwatching. Its an activity I enjoy sharing with them and we often converse about it.
Birdwatching involves patience and tenacity. Every bird sighting is an epiphany. You can do it anytime, anyplace. It builds community--introducing you to new places and people. I recommend it highly. All you need is a pair of binoculars and a willingness to wait.