New Year’s Birds

January 1, 2009

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.


4 Responses to “New Year’s Birds”

  1. I too keep lists of the birds I see. I thought everybody did 😉 They are amazing little creatures.

  2. davidbcoe said

    They are indeed. And maybe those of us who keep lists are the normal ones, and everyone else is nuts!

  3. Dino said

    I have always held the belief that I was the sane one, and most other people were weird.

  4. davidbcoe said

    Oh, dear. Come on, Dino. You really want to give me that wide an opening?


    Happy New Year to you and yours, my friend. Hope ’09 is a great one for all of you.

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