|I have had these binocs for a very long time.|
|I spotted a Hawk up in the woods behind our house!|
I have always been interested in the behavior of birds. When I was only 8 years old, I found the remnants of a robin’s egg. Asking my grandfather what bird had laid such beautiful eggs, he began to tell me about robins.
Soon afterward my Mom gave me a tiny book that was called A Golden Guide--Birds, published by Western Publishing Co. Inc. Many years later I still have that book. It is worn and dog-eared and has been lovingly used often for quick reference. I love the beautiful illustrations and the simple but accurate descriptions.
I still remember my first school essay. It was about the many kinds of sparrows living in North America. So you see, my interest in backyard birds began at a very young age, and continues today. My brothers and sister and I were very fortunate, I think, to live in a rural area. In addition, our house was just up the road from my grandparents’ house.
There was a well-worn path through the field to and from each property. That field was host to many different kinds of insects, butterflies, bees and birds as well as 4-legged varmints. You name it, we were able to observe it.
My grandfather being a very knowledgeable nature-lover was able to impart some of his vast wisdom to us. He taught us how to look at plants and bugs through a magnifying glass. Once we saw how intricate and beautiful regular old weeds and insects could be, we were hooked! It was then a natural transition to look at birds with a more discerning eye.
Watching and listening to the birds at my grandmother’s feeder, I began to learn to identify their songs and the different color variations between males and females. Grandma fed the birds all year long so I was able to observe them during all kinds of weather and temperatures. It amazed me that they were so active even on the coldest winter days!
My grandfather had an orchard filled with dwarf fruit trees, as well as Concord grapes growing next to the sunny side of the shed. Their yard was filled with tall pine and maple trees, along with a large lilac bush and was edged by hay fields. Beyond that was a large swamp, and beyond that was a dense wooded area. Wildlife was abundant and included many different kinds of birds. It was an ideal place to observe and learn to appreciate wild birds.
Whether I realized it or not, all during my childhood I gained a lot of valuable experience watching and listening to the wildlife that surrounded me. I have grown to recognize that unfortunately a lot of the natural nesting trees have died off, and birds’ habitat has been shrinking. Toxic pesticides and weed killers are still the norm.
However, taking matters into our own hands and making sure our backyard birds have nutritious food year round, good quality nest boxes and bird houses in which to shelter and raise their young, and a non-toxic environment in which to live is extremely important.
I take great pride in knowing I can make a difference in the survival of our feathered friends. And I can help people to understand and appreciate the fact that the survival of our wild birds is a key factor in our own survival.
What if there were no birds? No bird song, no pops of color on the wing? NO INSECT AND WEED SEED EATERS?! We CANNOT let that happen.