Birdwatcher or Bird Collector?

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

I just finished reading an article in the August 2012 issue of “BirdWatching” Magazine by Maeve Kim. It is called “Born-Again Bird-Watcher.” The title caught my interest since I am a “Born-again Christian.” The article, of course, had nothing to do with religion but was about watching birds.

She, Maeve, had progressed from being a birdwatcher that just loved to watch birds and make notes in a field notebook.

“My old field notebooks are full of exclamation points and underlinings and capital letters. “GREEN HERON at beaver pond! Glowing chestnut throat and neck! Gorgeous!”
I described everything I saw about a bird’s physical appearance, behavior, and song. Often, my notebook entries ended with questions that I hoped might be answered if I watched more birds.”

Progression went from lots of information to just a “checklist” were just seeing the bird and checking it off became the main goal. This is called a “Bird Getter” and not a bird watcher. Long interesting story short, Maeve has now gone back to “watching” the birds even common ones. It is a very good article.

Wood Duck male – Lake Morton 6-28-12 by Lee

As I have “progressed” in my own birdwatching I also have learned about “journals,” “notebooks” and “lists.” I enjoy seeing my “Life List of Birds” grow, but I try not to just want to “check them off” so the list will grow. As a Christian believing that the Lord created the birds, I enjoy watching them, their behaviors, their sounds, how they fly and eat and writing about them. I am amazed at His design and paintbrush used. How each bird was given just the right beak, feet, song, flight pattern, etc. is awesome.

She said, “True Bird-Watchers enjoy every single minute that they’re out birding. They don’t come home feeling cheated because they didn’t get a rare Dovekie. Instead, they celebrate every time they see a Black Guillemot’s (her common) red feet flashing under cold water.”

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher at Circle B Reserve by Lee

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher at Circle B Reserve by Lee

Every time we go to our local parks, I still enjoy watching the antics of our local common birds. May we never tire or grow weary of “only ” seeing a bird that we have seen many times before.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. “Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, (Job 12:7,9 NASB)

How can we learn from the birds if we don’t watch them?



Birdwatching Tips


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