The Birdwatcher In Us!

Central Park

"The deceptively cute Gray Jay is one of the most intrepid birds in North America, living in northern forests year-round and rearing chicks in the dark of winter."  www.allaboutbirds.org
“The deceptively cute Gray Jay is one of the most intrepid birds in North America, living in northern forests year-round and rearing chicks in the dark of winter.” http://www.allaboutbirds.org
Let’s face it, there’s a little birdwatcher in all of us. Stop and think for a moment; do you remember when you looked skyward and wondered where that flock of geese was flying to as they headed southward? How about the time you saw birds of a feather swoop from one set of tree tops to another; or watched the antics of a Blue Jay taking possession of its space, or a Mother bird feed her young amid their gaping beaks, twitters and peeps. Yes, you were bird watching!

Mountain Desert Island, Maine - a year-round birding paradise - Wikimedia Commons
Mountain Desert Island, Maine – a year-round birding paradise – Wikimedia Commons
I’ve never actually considered myself a birdwatcher per se, but I do remember quite a few years ago, while touring the Florida Everglades, encountering a group of tourists who were actually on a bird watching tour. They disembarked quietly from their tour bus in single file with binoculars in hand. At first, I couldn’t help wonder what they were doing, but then it was evident as they dispersed and quickly raised their binoculars toward the tree tops. I could barely hear their whispers, but imagined they were pointing out one bird or another. You could see the fascination and quiet excitement on their faces. I watched three or four congregate near some Palmetto’s as they peered around the prickly green pointed Palmetto, and in hushed tones speak of some great feathered find.

Everglades National Park, photo by traveledfoot.com
Everglades National Park, photo by traveledfoot.com
I actually found myself looking to the tree tops and out along the marsh and open waters where I could have easily spotted any number of herons, egrets and other wading birds. Could it be that I was now bird watching?

As I fondly look back at this memory I realize that I am among thousands, if not millions of people who are not only bird watchers but actually provide for our feathered friends in the winter months, putting out bird seed, making tasty treats of berries, peanut butter and the like . . . . and, when winter slowly fades away we eagerly await the musical tones of birds calling out to one another and then it happens; bird nests begin to appear and a melodious din of tweets mingle as a symphony of cardinals, wrens, doves, mocking birds, blue jays and a flock of many birds join together in this feathered melody of Spring.

The black guillemot with its distinct black and white feathers and red webbed-feet - whalewatcher.is photo
The black guillemot with its distinct black and white feathers and red webbed-feet – whalewatcher.is photo
So where do bird watchers go when it’s time to bird watch? How about Mount Desert Island, Maine, with an estimated 2.5 million tourist each year; many being birdwatchers, who are looking for bald eagles, northern ravens and black guillemots, or during migratory periods, sea ducks.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, Pennsylvania attracts hawks, eagles and falcons who fly the aerial highway of the Kittatinny Ridge, and in Cape May Point, New Jersey, flocks of eastern kingbirds, bobolinks, and northern flickers among many other species follow the coastline south.

The 164-acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary at Dauphin Island, Alabama is one of many landfalls providing a needed respite for birds returning from southern regions after their long flight over the gulf of Mexico. To learn more about America’s best bird watching areas, visit http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-best-birdwatching

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