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Monday, May 10, 2021

Being a Busy Birder

There's so much to learn about birds. And there are so many to find right now during spring migration. I get eBird reports every day of the warblers and vireos and flycatchers and more passing through our region. And I get jealous because I don't have the time to see all of them. 

I get FOMOOB. Fear of Missing Out On Birds. 

I don't like FOMOOB. So I'm focusing on enjoying the ones I can see and learning what I can. 

I start by birding in my own backyard. No joke. We have some lovely old oak trees and get a surprising amount of warblers. I go out in the morning and listen. The trees are full of them. 

Black-throated green warbler

Chestnut-sided warbler 

Yellow-jumped warbler

I don't have a photo but we also had a Baltimore Oriole visit the trees in the front yard about a week ago! 

This year, I'm enrolled in the Master Birder course offered by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.  I have to miss many of the weekend outings because of family events (which I'm grateful to have after so much was cancelled in 2020).  I could feel bad about this - but I am finding time to bird on my own or with my husband and kids. And when I do bird on my own, I focus on finding one or two birds by really learning their calls and seeking them out. I've explored some lovely nearby trails and encountered other helpful, generous birders. 

I've also been so busy lately I fell behind on my Cornell Lab Bird Academy online courses. I still have to take my course on crows AND on owls! I know I will get back to these on rainy days. 

But you don't need to spend money on classes to learn about birds. I learn hilarious and incredible things just by reading bird apps on my phone in my spare time. I shared some of my favorites from the Audubon guide app as screenshots on my Instagram account. .   I love the belted kingfisher's greeting, the yellow warbler's stubbornness, or the green heron's wily hunting. 


Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out by not birding all the time. But other times I remind myself that what I really love is discovering and "meeting" each different kind of bird. I love learning about their quirky habits. I love learning to recognize their feathers and colors and tell males from females. I love learning their different songs and hearing them sing to me when I walk through woods or fields. 

I don't want to rush through this experience. I want to take my time and enjoy every moment. So, when I'm not busy, I'll be birding. But if you call me and I don't answer, I might be busy birding! 


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