Takes on a Zen approach
I once heard a fellow birwatcher describe her late husband as “mad for it”. Ornithology effects some of us that way. Birders are not known for their dress sense or their chattey disposition. If you happen across another enthusiast in the bush and it’s usually a nod instead of a gidday!
Before I went on my first field trip I made sure I got the terminology right – it’s birding. (Birdwatching is just about acceptable but bird spotting is a no no.) Twitching is for the real crazies – it’s about constantly being on edge (hence the name) for the next report of a rare bird to come in. The twitcher is ready-clothed, scope in hand, waiting to dash out that door and charge to the sighting with reckless abandon.
One of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions was to submit a bird list every day for the year. I started off to a little shakey, soon like my fellow birders was mad for it also. I went on weekend field trips as well as week day walks. By the end of 2018, the constant list making, the need to identify every bird I heard or saw was wearing me out. It was then that I decided to take a more Zen approach to my obsession. Birdwatching morphed into forest bathing and if I saw a bird that I didn’t know I resisted the urge to drag out the field guide. I still carry my binoculars, but I now usually walk with my dog. We still see lots of birdlife (she is very patient and quiet) but the focus is on time spent in the moment enjoying nature.
My Life List: 333 species recorded on eBird.org as Mimfilip