Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bird Well and Prosper

As the dawn breaks fresh on a new day of birding, it is the beginning of a journey.  No two days of birding are the same. One never knows if the birding will just be good, or if something in this day might be life-changing.

Our journeys all start differently.  My interest in "serious" birding did not happen until my 40's. Even now, it is but a portion of my interest and always tied to plant communities and habitats. 

Some birders are called at an early age, like the young birder I recently met, Anna. Who knows where this path will lead her, but Ohio has produced some excellent scientists rising out of our Ohio Young Birders Club community. 

Morning mist lifts as Anna explores the shores of Lake Erie.
Thanks to the Young Birders Club, kids like Anna will know they are not alone in their ornithological pursuits. There are opportunities to meet with other young birders and develop their skills and leadership abilities.
Katie Anderson, a talented leader helping others discover birds.
Biggest Week In American Birding is another opportunity to meet other birders and learn more about birds. We offer encouragement and support for each other, often develop strong bonds of friendship and discover secrets of the natural world. Black Swamp Bird Observatory offers field trips with experienced guides from all across America and around the globe.  It has been an opportunity for me to improve my leadership skills and network with others in the birding community.

Dr. Elliot Trammer (far right) our expert guide on the Oak Openings trip.
 We laugh.  We learn. Whether it is cold or hot, raining or sunny, we carry on.  No two days are alike and the offerings of nature are various and sundry. Sometimes the findings are unexpected.

Young raccoon sleeps off a rough night.
This young raccoon had chosen an odd way to sleep-it-off. We were debating if it was even alive, when it waved its left paw as to say, "Go away!  Move along birders, move along."

A group effort can often produce.
Festivals are social affairs and while many think birding is best done alone, there is no denying the likelihood for success when many eyes are focused.  The combined effort of many paid off when we were trying to relocate a very special bird. We worked together as a team and shared the glorious moment together.  We have birded well.

Kirtland's Warbler, female, the first recorded in the Oak Openings.
The crowd bubbled with the excitement of seeing this extremely rare bird as she wings her way to the Michigan breeding grounds from her wintering ground in the Bahamas. Most likely, the Oak Openings was her last stop before home.

The federally listed Endangered Kirtland's Warbler, the rarest warbler in the United States, is the Holy Grail bird for many Biggest Week Birders.  The good news, due to habitat management in their Michigan breeding grounds, Kirtland's populations are on the rise. More birds to love and admire.

To read more about this very special bird, click on  Conserving the Kirtland's Warbler.  

Thankful moments, nature's reward.
As the sun sets on our birding day, we know we have done no harm and discovered a little more about the value of life: our lives, the birds lives, and value of the natural world which we need to survive. The high of a successful chase and the warm reward of locating one bird in an entire forest is enough. 

This is birding: the thrill of the chase, the communing with nature, the friends, laughter and life-long learning. We are a curious community, wanting to know more about birds and the big picture of life. Young to old, we are all ages, races, genders.  We are a welcoming community. 

Bird Well and Prosper.

What could be a better definition of "prosper"?  We are rich in so many ways. 

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