Many years ago I was dragged kicking and screaming on a naturalist outing. It was quite early in the spring and the birders of the club had arranged an outing to a local marsh to observe the duck migration. It was cold and windy and to make matters worse, at times the sky would opened up and pelt us with a combination of light rain and wet snow. Birders, in the event that you’re unaware, are a hardy group and much like the postman are deterred by neither rain, nor snow, nor……well, anyway, you get the picture.
I wasn’t into birding at that time. I was still committed to a business career and rarely took time off to pursue anything not connected to my business. Sandy, my wife, had suggested that I take a few minutes away from work letting me know that there was more to life than work, and more work.
We all met at a prearranged place and car-pooled, then set off in a caravan of vehicles heading out to the marsh. From time to time the caravan would come to a screeching halt and the outing leader would race from his vehicle followed by others, and stand by the side of the road pointing at something in a nearby field. Then, all would train their binoculars at what I assumed was a bird of some type, make a note on a piece of paper, then pile back into their cars and we’d head off again. This went on for what seemed to me to be forever, and although we had left the prearranged meeting place an hour before, we seemed to be making little progress in getting to the marsh. As this stopping and starting appeared as if it was to be the pattern of the day the next time the caravan stopped I decided to exit the vehicle in which I was a passenger and stretch my legs. I got out and was standing at the side appearing disinterested when a older lady came up to me and asked if I’d like to use her binoculars to see what everybody was looking at. Being the polite person that I am I agreed and taking her binoculars and training them on the spot that she was pointing at, then focusing the lenses, I saw a small brown bird with a white throat and white markings on its head. “It’s a White-throated Sparrow” she said. Silly as it sounds to me saying it it years later, I was hooked, enthralled to see this beautiful, tiny bird. From that moment on I became a birder, soon to become an avid birder, and still am some 40 years later. Little did I know it at that time, but I had embraced the sport of birding, probably the most perfect sport in the world.
A few years later I left a successful career to pursue life as an artist, a life that involved drawing and painting birds, and the promotion of all things natural. I became an artist-naturalist, and as a part of what I did I promoted the sport of bird watching.
I tell people that it is the most perfect sport in the world as it can be done by everyone regardless of your age and physical condition. Persons who are physically challenged can easily bird wherever there are birds, and this is just about everyplace in the world. It can be done anytime of the day, or night, as birds are active 24/7. Even sight challenged persons can become birders relying upon sound to identify the various species. The wonderful thing about birding is that you don’t need a lot of equipment, an inexpensive pair of binoculars and a bird guide, and you’re set for life. And, as I’m heard to tell people, another wonderful thing is that all the money that one must spend on other sports just for equipment can now be channeled into travel and all of its attributes to discover more birds…….just as Sandy and I did a couple of weeks ago travelling to Lake Superior Provincial Park where amongst other more common birds we observed Bald Eagles, Boreal Chickadees, Horned Larks, White-Crowned and White-throated Sparrows, and so on……Happy Birding!
Mantling Kestrel Pencil Study
Still Waters (Common Loon) Etching
Hairy Woodpecker Pencil Study
White-breasted Nuthatch Hand Coloured Etching
Black-capped Chickadee Pencil Study
Red-breasted Nuthatch on Fungus Watercolour Painting
Snowy Owl Watercolour Painting
Kestrel on Birch Stump
White-breasted Nuthatch Pencil Study
|Black-capped Chickadee Pencil Study|