A couple eons ago, I was a middle school science teacher. The high school science teacher at the school is a birder and took students on 3-4 birding trips each year. I tagged along and learned a lot about birdwatching.
We went on eagle trips to the Missouri River, migratory bird areas to see waterfowl, and tromped through wooded and grassy areas to find different bird species. The neat part is you become in-tune with bird calls, small movements, and flight patterns.
When I became a bit more proficient, I accompanied my friend on an Audubon Bird Count. You cover a certain area and provide the count and species of birds seen. They use this data to track bird numbers and migration patterns, so accuracy is important.
Recently, I was walking around a lake and was birding. It was fun to hear and see a neat variety of feathered friends and a couple made me dig through my mental file of names. I call it birding, because I’m minor league. Birders are major league.
If you’ve ever seen the movie The Big Year, you saw birders. People who will travel to see a particular bird traveling through. People who keep exhaustive lists and photos. People who seem to have X-ray vision in finding birds and hearing calls that are nearly inaudible.
Probably my most treasured finds were an Indigo Bunting and Rufous Sided (or Eastern) Towhee. One of my favorite birds is the Cedar Waxwing and recently had a Loggerhead Shrike at our house. Always neat to see Kingfishers or Bald Eagles, and male Wood Ducks never fail to impress. Some amazing varieties in our world, so get out and go birding.