I’ve been interested in birding ever since my Grandmother gave me a Roger Tory Peterson Field Guide when I was six years old. Soon after that we moved to a home adjacent to an Audubon Sanctuary in Brockton, MA. My sister and I became Junior Auduboners. I do maintain annual lists of birds seen and compare on this with my sister each year. I won last year with 104 birds and limited New York birding. This year I’ve already seen 87 species. My life list is over 300. Picking a favorite bird would be difficult, but the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is special because, on two occasions, I have rescued one into my cupped hand and, then, had him look me in the eye, as if to say thanks, before flying.
I had 43 years in two overlapping careers, first as a saving and loan officer and, secondly, as a residential real estate appraiser.
In retirement, I have been a non-resident on Seabrook for 17 years and am fortunate to be part of founding Seabrook Island Birders. I’ve also been on the High Hammock Board of Directors and the Environmental Committee (Lakes and Wildlife Sub-Committee, Deer management Task Force and Common Property Task Force).
Our summers are spent in suburban Rochester, NY and, for numerous years, I have been a member of the Rochester Birding Association. Their monthly publication is “Little Gull.” In the current issue, a member, John Boettcher, posted a piece entitled ‘Why Birdwatching?’ First time I’ve ever thought of this topic and I agree with the items. I got his permission to share it with our SIB members. I have no feel for whether he had a listing priority, but I do think I’d have had a different order, were I the originator.
by John Boettcher
- Social — Meet new people and renew acquaintances.
- Competition — How many birds can you see? How many species? Be the first to find new ones. Post on a list and on eBird.
- Hunt — Finding birds in the habitat, getting a good look, and identifying.
- Skill Building — Becoming proficient with optics. Keying on birds using songs and calls.
- Gentle Physical Activity — Reason for a walk.
- Enjoying Nature — Exposure to bird habitat — other animals, trees, and flowers.
- Mark Seasons — Notice the different birds with different seasons and changes.
- Travel to New Places — Nearby and far away.
- Build Identification Skills — Home study and practice in the field to build proficiency.
- Natural History of Birds — Study and sharing of bird behavior and physiology.
- Get a Better View of Birds — No matter how many times you’ve seen a bird there awaits a better view.
- Better Citizen — Appreciation and understanding of nature and need to preserve.
- Teaching Opportunity — Pass along your understanding and enthusiasm to others — young and old.
Submitted by George Haskins