There is no single reason why I enjoy finding, identifying, photographing and now blogging about birds. Having grown up in Saugerties, NY, at the base of the Catskill Mountains, without cable television, I was kind of forced into an appreciation of the outdoors. Hiking in the mountains, exploring green-shaded woodlands, and swimming in crystal-clear creeks was what I did. During the winter we would always have bird feeders up so I have long had a familiarity with the flocks of feathered feeders. Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, jays and woodpeckers entertained me for hours when snow and cold kept me indoors.
But many people grow up with a love of the outdoors and bird feeders in their yard and don’t become birders, much less bird bloggers. So what happened to me? I was done in by what is known as a “trigger bird.” Now don’t go rushing off to page through your field guide to see exactly what a trigger bird looks like, I’ll describe the one I saw.
My trigger bird was perched on a long, thin branch overhanging a muddy, frog-filled pond. It was about the size of a crow with a long, bright, orange-yellow bill and matching legs and feet. Its chest was streaked with a reddish-chestnut color and the top of its head and down its back was a rich, dark green. Daisy, the love of my life, and I stared at this odd creature in a familiar park that we often visited and wondered what the heck it was.
When we got home I pulled a dusty, old Reader’s Digest wildlife guide off the bookshelf and we figured out it was a Green Heron. I had never heard of such a bird. I resolved to pay more careful attention during our regular outdoor outings and, well, the rest, as they say, is history.
I like birds because you can find them anywhere, from New York City to Antarctica. There is always a bird you haven’t seen (no one has ever seen them all) and even if you have seen a bird before you might see a common bird do something uncommon. They are wild and free and they can fly. Who wouldn’t want to watch these winged wonders whenever they can?
And, though it’s not in the title of this post I’ll answer a second question, why blog? Again, the answer isn’t simple. Over the last almost-two years of birding I’ve had lots of great experiences and taken lots of photographs. I want to share these experiences and photos and what better way than the world wide web? Also, as I slowly sunk into the complex world of birding I often turned to the web for answers to questions about birds and birding. This is a chance to share what I see, experience and learn with others.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with a picture of a Green Heron, at the same pond I saw my first one. The picture was taken at the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, a place about which readers of this blog will read altogether too much.