I think it’s important that an individual be able to laugh at themselves. Well, thinking of myself as a beginner birder definitely has me laughing. To start off I think you should all know that I tend to be a goal driven person. I like setting goals and I really like achieving them. There is something about checking “done” that makes me feel so good. My journey as a beginner birder is no different!
To begin with I, of course, spent time on YouTube trying to learn how to be a birder. It seems like I turn to YouTube to learn everything now days. I also picked the brain of my son in law, Jeff, who is the most experienced birder I know. I followed his guidance and purchased a reference book, The Sibley Guide to Birds, and a pair of binoculars. Prior to my trip to pick up the Casita I had been practicing in my backyard and close to my home. I knew what all the birds were that came to my feeders. This seemed so easy. My next goal was to identify 25 new birds for my list. I was ready to go forth and identify all the birds in America. Well, at least I thought I was….. until I got started.
Let me tell you about the birds I saw. They wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to identify very many of them. They kept zooming by so fast and would go behind the tree just when I finally spotted them. They kept flying by when I didn’t have my binoculars with me. I would here them tweeting and chirping but would just see brief glimpses of them. I could barely tell what their overall color was, much less any identifying marks. How in the world did Jeff always make this seem so easy. I kept trying and found myself getting so frustrated. I found myself thinking, “I’m never going to be able to do this!”
And then I realized something. It’s not about getting 25 identified birds on my list the first week. It’s about being in the moment and enjoying watching their flight and listening to their calls. I don’t have to be perfect. Let me say that again……. I don’t have to be perfect! I don’t have to be an expert in the beginning. It’s ok to just be.
So I relaxed. And just enjoyed their presence. And once I started doing that I was able to notice certain things about the ones I saw. Oh, that looks like a duck. And it is black with a white bill. I wonder what my book says it might be. Oh my, I think I just identified my first American Coot! That is what I saw! I am a birder! An onward I go……