Archive | 12:54 am

Why am I still bird blogging?

8 Jul

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

When Mike mentioned to me that this would likely be the question for the 3rd Anniversary edition of I and the Bird,  I actually laughed out loud.  There are so many ways to take this question.  Why are YOU still bird blogging?  Why are you STILL bird blogging?  Why are you still BIRD blogging?  And, I suppose, why are you still bird BLOGGING?

I am not a birder of merit.

I am not a blogger of merit.

I am not a photographer of merit.

I don’t say these things to elicit compliments.  I don’t say them out of false modesty.  I’m not upset about all this.  I have been working hard, in the last few years, to bring back things that I have dropped out of my life as I aged that used to work for me. But, I am well aware that I have a long way to go to improve my skills in all these areas.  So, why am I still doing it?

I first learned about birding from my stepfather, Igor.  In high school in my advanced biology class, we had to do a project.  I chose birding and Igor taught me some of what he knows.  It was fun and I enjoyed it.  I did well on the project (I think!).  But, I did not continue birding.  I wish I could say that was the beginning of my birding life but it wasn’t.  It did spark the interest, however.  Birds just appeal to me.  If I see an egret at the beginning of a trip, I know it will be a good trip.  My Granny Donaldson (a tough old bird if there ever was one) felt that owls were her spirit bird.  Who am I to argue?  Birds were always there, at the periphery, calling to me.  Putting up feeders at my kitchen window to see what happened was a good thing.  My mother shared her suet recipe with me and things started in earnest.  I researched bird books when I wasn’t happy with my Peterson’s Guide anymore and ended up with a Sibley’s that goes with me everywhere now.  I got “into” birds.

Another teenage hobby that was put aside later in life was photography.  When I was a teen – lo those many years ago – photography was an expensive hobby.  You had to buy a camera (I had a very nice Pentax).  You had to buy film and then develop it and get prints.  Cameras were complicated and best learned through classes and lessons which I never managed to do.  My camera languished.  Then, my husband gave me a digital camera.  One of his business partners had it — a nice Nikon.  It didn’t work though — the battery door wouldn’t stay closed so it was useless.  I researched solutions and bought an external battery pack and a new hobby was born.  I used that camera for a few years.  I started taking pictures of birds.  I bought accessories for it.  I got frustrated because it wouldn’t allow me to get close enough to birds for GOOD shots.  Greg got me my Panasonic Lumix when I finished my teaching credential program and there was no going back.  My camera goes with me everywhere.  It is not an expensive hobby.  Last weekend, I took 284 shots.  Maybe 40 of them were good enough to keep.  Maybe 20 of them will end up on my blog.  Oh, and I still don’t know how to use my camera beyond the auto settings.

When I was a child, I wrote constantly.  As a teenager, my writing grew as all those emotions overwhelmed me and came out through my pen.  In college and and as an adult, my writing life fell off until I was journaling occasionally and writing poetry less than that.  I made a conscious decision to go back to writing and blogging became a big part of that.  When writing journals for myself, it is too easy to say things like, “Boring day.  It was hot.  Greg didn’t take the trash out.  I’m so mad at him.”   Writing merely to get words down on paper doesn’t work for me.   Blogging gives me an audience.  An audience requires a commitment.  An audience requires some thought.  An audience requires that I do more than whine about my rotten life (which is actually quite nice, thank you).  Blogging about birds gives me something to write about.

So, blogging about birds fills several needs.  It gives my hobbies focus.  I find myself stretching, thinking, and persuing birds, photos, and words in new ways.  Blogging about birds helps me to be a better person.  Oh, and wait until you see what I am can do with my crafting hobby and birds!  All you can be sure of is that I’ll blog about it!

Ruby Tuesday – On the Road Again!

8 Jul

Ruby loves the car

Ruby loves to go in the car with me to get the kids from their various events.  When we get near our house, I will roll down her window and let her look out.  She loves it.  I’ve worried a little bit though — if she saw a squirrel . . . well, she was riding back there with Ruthie and Ruthie was worried too.  Good thing.  I opened the window near Ruth and Ruby saw something and tried to jump out.  Luckily, Ruth grabbed her and told her in no uncertain terms NOT to do that again.  Yikes!  So, this little bit of fun may be too much fun for Ruby — sorry girl, window closed!