Birding for Beginners: Solace During Social Distancing

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
It has been over a month since we have had to keep our distance from other people. Socially distancing can be difficult, we are all spending less time with our loved ones and feeling the effects of isolation. Not surprisingly, birds have provided a lot of comfort during this time. Not only is bird watching a calming hobby that has multiple benefits for mental health, it allows us to connect deeply with nature. To listen, to observe, to be present. These are all important lessons during this time.

Female Red-Winged Blackbird 
I am no nature photographer, I would describe myself as an amateur at best. However, I have been trying to go on long walks, through forest trails or around my neighbourhood with my camera in hand and I have found it to be deeply calming. I am able to connect with my surroundings, to learn better bird identification, to spend time going through the photos. It is something that has been quite grounding for me. 

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker in the sun 

A Brown Creeper - a birding first for me!

It does not have to be a rare bird or a perfect photo. I observed this male House Sparrow carrying a little leaf and it was such an adorable moment that I was happy to capture. 

Male House Sparrow

When I am out walking with my camera I feel completely relaxed and in tune with nature. I find that this hobby lends a lot of peace in a time of turmoil and uncertainty. Not to mention a great reason to get moving! You may hear a beautiful song and then in following it, only to find a little Song Sparrow singing loud for all to hear. 

It is important to take time to be present, go for walks, and spend time in nature. Birding provides an outlet for all of these activities that contribute so positively to our state of mind. No matter your experience, your equipment or your know-how, birding is a solace during social distancing and I encourage you to get out there and give it a try! 

Happy watching! 



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