#6 BIRDING IS INEXPENSIVE (Birding on a Budget!)
If you’d like to start feeding birds in your backyard, it can be very simple and affordable. Options range from offering some clean water and light ground feeding to investing in an inexpensive feeder and some seed, insects or suet. If you fall in love with the hobby (like Michelle and I did), then your backyard will be a bird sanctuary before you know it!
A new or used field guide? Check. An interest in watching birds? Obviously! Decent eyesight? Eh, not really, but my contacts rock! Heck, these days you can even bird by ear if the whole vision thing isn’t on your side! Ok, so that pretty much covers it. You are, dare I say it – a fledgling birder. Take it one step further, purchase a set of starter binoculars, and you are all set!
Grab a pen and a notepad and you can start your life list immediately. Now how easy and economical is that?
#7 BIRDING IS CHALLENGING
Think of the best scavenger hunt you’ve ever been on… now multiply that by a million… and then double that–that is birding!
Now, if you fall into the adrenaline junkie category, then competitive birding is for you! Birding organizations around the globe hold competitions of all sorts. Whether the objective is to spot the greatest number of birds in a specific period of time, or location, competitive birding is all about improving, and enhancing skill, which leads to an even more enjoyable birding future.
If you are one who likes a challenge, you have turned to the right sport. Whether you thrive on the rush of making difficult identifications, love being the first on the scene after a rare bird alert, or glory in adding new species to your life list, you will never be short of new and exciting goals.
#8 BIRDING LEADS TO ADVENTURE
“Bird watching is a bloodless expression of man’s primitive hunting instincts. We have substituted binoculars and cameras for the gun, but we still seek a trophy – A new species on a life list, or photographs of one of earth’s rarest and most exquisite creatures. Our search may take us no farther than a nearby meadow – Or it can lead to the cloud forests of tropical mountains.” – James A. Kern
Birdwatching has the capacity to introduce you to natural wonders around your home you had no idea even existed as much as it draws you to corners of the earth you never thought you’d visit in your wildest dreams. You decide how far you want to let it lead you. As for Michelle and I, we gave in; we have chosen to follow the hobby with unbridled passion and let our love for birds take us wherever it shall lead. Oh, the places we’ve been…. And, oh, the places we (hope we’ll) go!
#9 BIRDING MEANS TIME WITH FAMILY
Birds of a feather flock together! I don’t know about you, but the majority of the moments I can vividly recall from my childhood were spent doing things outdoors with my family. Among the greatest gifts our parents ever gave us were those precious moments together and the memories that will last us a lifetime. Time spent with loved ones is invaluable.
Nowadays, it is easy to confuse quality time and “clock” time. And, no, sharing a meal at the dinner table with all eyes on the latest episode of ‘American Idol’ SO doesn’t count! I’m referring to some old-fashioned, undistracted bonding time. If any of this is clicking for you, then you know what you’ve got to do. Need some quality time with your loved one(s)? Whether your grandchild, significant other, sibling, or the whole clan, comes to mind, it’s as easy as pie – just plan a backyard birding day, or a visit to a local nature reserve.
Getting outside of our everyday environment, or just walking away from all of the technological gadgets that hold us prisoner in our own homes (and, yes, I do love my gadgets!), is tremendously important. It allows us to (re)connect with nature and one another. It is likely more valuable than most of us even realize.
Whatever you do, just get outside, watch the birds, develop an appreciation for the natural world together – and connect! If watching birds is what will get you there, great! If birding is what bonds you, even better! Birding has enhanced most of the relationships with the important people in my life. If anything, it promotes spending quality time with the people you care about.
An added bonus: A difficult economic climate has brought about a need for comfort, family and at-home entertainment. What better way to spend your time then in or around your home, with your loved ones, enjoying the most beautiful entertainment nature has to offer?
#10 BIRDING ROCKS!
Don’t knock it ‘till you try it! Believe me, Michelle and I had no idea how quickly and deeply we’d fall in love with bird watching – or how incredibly fun it would be!
Like many birders, we started small. We focused on backyard birding and our local feathered friends. Before we knew it, we’d spread our wings and ventured out further into the field, exploring even more species. Today, with so much, still, to learn, we take any opportunity we can to get out into the world and delve deeper into the world of birding.
Birding is our favorite hobby. It is both our work and our greatest stress reliever. It is our best challenge and our most fulfilling reward. Birding has brought us closer than ever before. It encourages us to connect with nature and with ourselves. It inspires us and stimulates our creativity. Birding is happiness.
Whether you are a casual backyard bird watcher, a hardcore champion birder – or fall anywhere in between – you have found your happy place in the wide-ranging world of birding. Perhaps you are even looking for ways to expand your passion. If you have just gotten the birding bug, and are eager to join in the feathered frenzy, we hope that you enjoy the view as you, too, spread your wings and discover the type of birder you want to become.
Simply put: Birding Rocks!