A Shared Hobby With Dad… Birding, Who Knew?

It’s been three years since my Dad died; truly difficult to believe! Life continues on, many waking moments with memories of him, with the realization of the impact a person can have upon your life even years after their death.

A recent visit home to spend time with my Mom always brought forth emotional moments. Talking of their world travel together, looking at all my Dad’s tools in the basement, but it was more than I realized when I asked my Mom if I could take my Dad’s Birds of North America pocket guide. At that moment I was curious about the birds he had seen in the Long Island New York backyard. I had a sense of comfort seeing his handwritten date in seeing a bird and the letters “B.Y.”, meaning backyard. I liked the feeling of knowing he had observed, enjoyed, and recorded the birds he saw among the flowers he had purposely planted for my Mom in Rose’s Garden.

My goal is to travel and see the world. In my younger years, I was fascinated with loons and would hike miles in the Adirondack Mountains to see and hear one. When I was recently in the Peruvian Amazon I was blown-away by sighting 100 birds within a 5 day period of time with a local guide. I then wondered why I am not taking time now to know more birds… those in my backyard and around the world.

I joined a local birding hike and on our first outing we saw 30 birds! More importantly I discovered I needed better binoculars to accurately see eye rings, wing shapes, breast color, crowns and wing bars. With new binoculars in hand I went to various birding spots and despite not knowing the name of a bird I simply loved the sight of it.

When I travel I often take photos of birds and never cared if I knew the name of the bird. But now as I learn about and see birds, I check their name off on my list and compare with my Dad’s bird book to see if he did too! Recently I saw a ruby-crowned kinglet … not a common bird to see …but how wonderful to know my Dad had seen it in NYS where it migrated through and I saw it in AZ as it wintered!

For now my birding notes will be compared with my Dad’s book, just as other birders compare their sightings and “life checklist of birds” with one another. I had not realized my Dad was a birder, but we’ll compare our notes for years to come.

Below are some photos of birds taken by me during bicycle trips, time in backyards, and birding times.

Cooper’s Hawk
Bald Eagle
Great Blue Heron

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