I’m the type of birder you’ve probably never met before. I certainly never have.
For the longest time, I’d have said that was bad – I wasn’t identifying birds correctly, I wasn’t making the most of every birding trip, I wasn’t contributing enough to bird conservation, I wasn’t even taking the proper steps to nurture birds in my own yard or birding every single chance I got. I’ve been criticized for my enjoyment of invasive birds, questioned on my lack of organizational memberships, and even had hired guides ask that I not use their names when commenting on trip lists because the way I count species might make them look bad.
Birding, however, should never be something to feel bad about, no matter how you choose to do it, and I got tired of being told I wasn’t the “right” kind of birder. Hence, Be Your Own Birder was hatched, and it is my goal to nurture it – and you, its readers – to be the type of birder you want to be, however you may define being a birder and enjoying birds.
We are all birders, but we are all more at the same time. While birding and birds are a huge part of my life, I’d never advocate that these little feathered wonders – no matter how amazing they may be – should be your whole life. There’s work, home, family, friends, hobbies, faith, and so much more to explore in this tremendous world, it would be a shame if we didn’t get out to experience it. After all, even birds don’t stay in one place all the time.
My world is a diverse and ever-changing one that, at any given time, includes…
- Travel domestically and internationally, by land, air, and particularly sea – I love cruises and have been on more than 25, some of which have seen fine birding
- Cooking, baking, and enjoying delicious food (much to the dismay of my waistline), especially if I can do it easily in a slow cooker
- Compassion for all wildlife with a particular fondness for turtles and tortoises, as well as puppies (of course!)
- Beach cleanups to help prevent litter from contaminating our oceans and harming all marine wildlife, including albatrosses, sea turtles, sharks, and more
- Books, books, and more books, not only on my shelves, but from weekly library visits and an amazing used bookstore I happily drive two hours to explore
- Volunteering weekly at the local library (see point above) and seeking additional volunteer opportunities in my community
- Long and rambling walks, either in my neighborhood, along a stretch of beach, or through an extensive antique store, of which I have several to choose from
- Cross stitch, latch hook, and meticulous decorating design to help create a beautiful place of being and a beautiful life for those I care about
- Writing real, hand-written letters to friends, lengthy enough to stretch the bounds of first class postage and written on personally selected cards or stationary
- Writing, writing, and more writing for work (I’m a freelance writer), from niche blogs and websites to local newspapers, national magazines, organizational newsletters, and more
We are all so much more than birds, and while birds are part of our lives everyday, we should never surrender all of ourselves to just one thing. Enjoy the diversity of your personal flock, and look beyond birding once in awhile.
I welcome feedback, input, and suggestions; you can contact me at BeYourOwnBirder@gmail.com, find me on Facebook, or send a message through the form below. Happy birding!