What Birding Can Teach Us

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

As with many hobbies, being a bird watcher means you have embarked on a journey of education. However,  there is so much more that birding teaches us that reaches far beyond knowing how to identify a wide range of species by sight or sound. 

Evening Grosbeak. Photo by Shayna Hartley. 

It also teaches us that:

Patience is a virtue: you must be patient to bird watch. Sometimes years will go by without seeing a species you covet. Sometimes you’ll need to sit quietly for long periods of time and simply observe. 

Learning is a lifelong journey: no matter how much you know about bird species, identification, or life history traits, there’s always something new to learn. Information changes. Science evolves. The scientific community learns new information and passes it along. It’s a never ending journey of discovery. 

Northern Cardinal. Photo by Leanne LeBlanc. 

Don't take things for granted: perhaps one that some of us birders need to be reminded of on occasion. Just because we see species like Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Chickadees all the time does not mean they are any less beautiful, interesting, or enjoyable to observe. 

Snowy Owl. Photo by Shayna Hartley. 

Life is full of surprises: when you least expect it, birds will surprise you. A Snowy Owl perched on a hydro pole. A Pileated Woodpecker on a decaying tree. A flock of Evening Grosbeaks landing in your yard. You can’t predict these happenings but you can relish in them when they happen. 

I don't know about you, but birding expands my capacity to be still, to appreciate, to listen. It is such a valuable hobbie for so many reasons. 

As always, happy birding! 



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