Passion is fleeting. The ardor that compels the neophyte to dive headlong into an activity will most certainly abate before mastery is achieved. Birding is no exception to the universal rule. The daunting breadth of ornithological knowledge and fieldcraft savvy required to break into the ranks of merely “intermediate” will deter many a prospective birder once that initial burst of ecstasy subsides. Others will lose their way once life birds stop coming hot and heavy, while still more will be discouraged when songbirds and raptors inevitably give way to gulls, shorebirds, and little brown jobs. One wonders how anyone makes it through.
Yes, passion is fleeting but, just as surely, true love endures. I’m sure most of us have experienced an ebb and flow of our immediate interest in avifauna even as our overall commitment to birding intensified. Life demands more of most of us than daily immersion in enchanting natural settings; work, family, friends, even other hobbies compete for scarce time. A balanced life offers a sure route to happiness, so don’t be disappointed when your devotion flags. Fire up that video game, pick up that novel, or eschew yet another Christmas Bird Count in order to sleep in with a clean conscience. Just be ready to catch that wave when your waning interest inevitably waxes. Passion reignited can burn hotter than ever.
One birder I admire quite a bit felt the rush of renewed interest so strongly, he considered himself “born again” in a very secular, very birdy sense. The magic may have dwindled for John Riutta when he was locked into the birding industry circuit of fancy festivals and trade shows, but if his blog is any indication, it is back with a vengeance. Born Again Bird Watcher offers abundant reasons to read religiously but an ideal starting point is John’s presentation of the work of Oscar Wildlife (very witty!) in I and the Bird #66.
Does your bird blogging illustrate infatuation or apathy? If you’re not just phoning it in, the extravagantly enthusiastic audience of I and the Bird would surely love to read your work. The next edition of IATB is going Down Under so send a link to your best wild bird or birding post to me or Trevor of Trevor’s Birding by January 22!