I can vividly remember the second grade, when our teacher asked us to write down of all the birds we had seen in our life so far. Most of the students wrote down things like crow, hummingbird, pelican and sparrow. But because I had become a bonafied birdwatcher at the age of five, I wrote down birds like the Marbled Godwit and the Roseate Spoonbill, beautiful birds that I had seen birdwatching with my dad. The teacher wrote me back, ‘Are these real birds?’ so I took in my field guide and showed her and she was astonished.
Being a birdwatcher has always been a great part of my life. My dad and I have had some great times together, out in the woods, hiking, watching birds or driving along the Oregon Coast. We have been to some amazing places and seen incredible things because of our shared hobby. Here’s a few reasons why you too, should consider birdwatching as a hobby.
1. Gets you outdoors-Birdwatching is a great way to get you and your family out into nature. Many cities or counties have bird or wildlife refuges that have hiking trails or viewing points and birdwatching gets you outdoors, enjoying nature and its beauty.
2. Gets you exercise-Being outdoors and walking those trails is a great and fun way to get exercise. You can watch birds for a few hours and not even realize that you are out and walking around, burning calories and staying active.
3. Like detective work-When you see a bird, figuring out what kind it is requires Sherlock Holmes-like abilities. You have to determine the category of bird, whether its located in your area, different characteristics like the color of its wingbar or what it looks like when it flies. Your Peterson Field Guide is invaluable to eliminating birds its not, and finding out which bird it is.
4. Appreciate beauty of nature-There are so many different birds in North America and the world, with different and beautiful colors, shapes and sizes. Birdwatching can help you realize the diversity and abundance of creativity in nature and encourages me to take care of our environment so that these birds are here to stay.
5. Fun way to relate with kids-Birdwatching can make a family hike or outing a lot of fun for kids. You can send them on tasks to find certain birds and the joy of discovering a new species is a lot of fun for kids. There are kid’s bird books or bird identification games a many kids stores.
So if you’re looking for a way to get outdoors this fall and winter, going driving or hiking in the woods or your nearest bird and wildlife refuge could be a great new hobby to try. Bring a pair of binoculars and your bird book and start your life long list. Its a hobby you’ll love and appreciate.