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!


8 Responses to “Why am I still bird blogging?”

  1. Val 8 July, 2008 at 3:27 am #

    Nicely put. I think you echo what so many of us feel about those things we are (or should be more) passionate about. I started blogging just last month for the first time, and I’m finding that it is driving me to live up to my expectations of what I should be experiencing every day.

    I really enjoy your pictures of birds too 🙂 Don’t stop bird blogging!

  2. Clare 8 July, 2008 at 5:48 am #

    But you are a blogger of merit Liza Lee. You merit our attention and that of the people who should be coming here to read you. Part of that stems from your merits as a bird watcher (not necessarily a birder which conveys something more competitive to me) and the photos that you share with us.

  3. Sandy 8 July, 2008 at 1:18 pm #

    I consider you a good bird blogger! And, a writer, too. I miss your haiku, and if you are writing somewhere else, please tell me so I can go look there.

    Are you anywhere near all those fires? If you get the chance to to osi and read Patricia’s (Roswila) poem for this week. She just moved to your state this year.

  4. KGMom 9 July, 2008 at 4:39 am #

    YES–I so understand your comment–birds just appeal to me.

    Me too. I am not a birder, but I love to look at birds, try to ID them, observe their antics, feed them, etc.

  5. Mary Carlson 9 July, 2008 at 9:07 pm #

    Very nice, Liza. I think many of us feel the same way you do (about bird blogging, photographing birds,etc.). I know that my only claim is that I enjoy watching, feeding and trying to capture photos of the birds that will come to my yard — thus I consider myself a backyard birdwatcher and nothing more. Although I do enjoy “birding” per se elsewhere, but definitely not in a competitive sense. And yes, blogging is a great way to express ourselves, but we also know we have an audience reading what we write.

  6. Liza Lee Miller 9 July, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    Thank you all for the kind words. I think I left out something that was at the core of what I am trying to say here . . . all of this is a journey and I am so enjoying the process of becoming a better birder, photographer, writer, and blogger. The fact that others enjoying watching me make this trek is amazing. So, Clare, thank you for your thoughtful response. I think I am on my way to being a “blogger of merit.”

    Sandy, I am writing but nothing publishable yet. I am working on bringing poetry back in again. Watch for more of it here! Promise! And, thank you for pointing me to Roswila’s site. I hadn’t seen that poem and wow. She also inspired me to try haibun again! 🙂

    As for the idea of birding being competitive . . . I suppose for some it is. I keep a lifelist because I enjoy cataloging what I’ve seen. It isn’t why I go watch birds but it is fun to see that number grow after a day of watching birds. I can also use it to augment my faulty memory? When did I see that Black-headed Grosbeak last year? I can just go check eBird and see.

  7. Mike 10 July, 2008 at 7:43 am #

    Liza Lee, I’m glad you took my question the right way! I’m with you about how this is a journey and I’m glad we’re sharing it.


  1. I and the Bird #79: The Third Anniversary Edition - 10 July, 2008

    […] ever-productive Liza Lee over at It’s just me (’just’, Liza, ‘just’?) has actually written TWO posts for this edition of […]

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