Be Your Own Birder

The Universal Truths of Birding – Deliberate Intention

As I seek to promote the idea of being your own birder – enjoying this pastime in your own, unique way – I have been contemplating the idea of the universal truths of birding to see how we all are united as birders, even if all our birding endeavors may be different and personalized. Several weeks ago, I discussed the simplest of the truths, that it is essential to enjoy birds to be a birder (if you didn’t enjoy them, why would you ever consider yourself a birder?), as well as how just basic enjoyment isn’t enough to really be a birder. Today, I examine the second of the universal truths – that deliberate intention helps define our actions as birders.

Great Tit

Great Tit – Photo by Terry Hughes

To be deliberate means to take direct action to reach a particular result. For birders, this means going beyond just seeing birds in passing or enjoying those that you might happen to see randomly, such as a raptor perched on a pole alongside a lonely highway, a flock of ducks dabbling about in a park pond or the robin searching for worms each morning in the yard. Birders take a great number of deliberate steps to see birds, such as…

  • Visiting known wildlife hotspots such as birding trails, nature preserves or wildlife sanctuaries with the explicit intention of seeing birds.
  • Following news stories, websites, social media accounts or other notification methods to learn where rare birds are recorded in order to go see them.
  • Planning birding trips to seek out specific target birds, such as local specialties, rare or endangered species or other desirable birds.
  • Choosing bird-friendly landscaping and adding other features into the yard to attract birds, such as feeders, baths and houses.
  • Adjusting other areas of life, such as reducing plastic use, opting for a hybrid vehicle, or making charitable donations with birds in mind.
  • Take steps to enjoy birds in artistic forms, such as enjoy bird artwork, jigsaw puzzles, documentary presentations, figurines, etc.

You don’t need to take deliberate actions related to birds on a daily basis, but if you’re a birder, it is a universal truth that you do have deliberate intention in your life to see more birds, no matter how you may individually define your effort. While anyone can see and enjoy birds without that intention, birders crave more birds and so take steps to bring birds into their lives.

Now, really think about it… I’ll bet, as a birder, you do something every day to see more birds, one way or another. I know I do, and on any given day I might…

  • Refill bird feeders or clean a bird bath to keep birds visiting
  • Consider adding more feeders to my yard (I’ll be changing hummingbird feeders soon)
  • Enjoy Facebook pages about birds, especially bird photography or local sightings
  • Check a daily bird app to see the day’s featured bird species
  • Spend time working on a bird-themed cross stitch project or puzzle
  • Consider adding bird decor to my office (I’m thinking flamingos…)
  • Make the bed with my sandpiper pillow displayed in the front
  • Read news stories featuring birds
  • Pick up litter that damages bird habitats, including beaches and waterways
  • Visit the zoo to enjoy my favorite resident species (southern cassowary)
  • Choose a new bird background for my computer
  • Write letters (real pen-and-paper) to friends on bird-themed stationery
  • Dream about birding travel to destinations I can’t afford and don’t have time to visit

Different birders may do different things, depending on what actions are important in their life. Other bird-friendly, birder lifestyle steps a birder might take could be…

  • Enjoying a cup of bird-friendly, shade-grown coffee that protects bird habitats
  • Answer questions about birds from neighbors, friends or family members
  • Paint, sketch or sculpt birds in an artistic medium
  • Wear bird-themed clothing, such as a favorite scarf, earrings or leggings with birds
  • Scoff at bird-related errors in movies (that’s NOT what a bald eagle sounds like)
  • Skip mowing the lawn or pruning trees because of nearby nesting birds

You’ll note that none of these actions involve actually going into the field with binoculars, which isn’t something I can manage nearly as often as I’d like, no matter what my intention. Furthermore, not all of these actions will apply to every birder, nor will each action be undertaken with a conscious consideration of birds (you might drink that coffee simply because you prefer the taste, and helping birds is just a bonus) – that’s the beauty of being your own birder. But when you are a birder, birds are a part of your life – deliberately.

How are birds a deliberate part of your life?
Share your deliberate intention in the comments!

3 thoughts on “The Universal Truths of Birding – Deliberate Intention

  1. Judi

    I identify with your thoughts on being a birder. The desire to know “what is THAT bird” is one I’ve had since I was a child. As an adult, doing the plantings, adding feeders and water features aa well as leaving weeds in the lawn over winter and brush piles on my property edges are some of the ways I’ve learned to increase my chances of seeing birds by providing for their needs. Tho I’m not a regular contributor, I also record bird sightings with e-Bird when I’m out walking or as a passenger when traveling. Going on birding walks when I’m on vacations is one of the highlights of a trip for me. I may not be able to ID juvenile birds or recognize bird songs, but, like you and many others, I’m still a birder.

    1. Mayntz Post author

      Wow, Judi, you do a lot of great things for birds! That’s exactly what I’ve meant by deliberate intention – you’re doing it in YOUR way, to help and attract and enjoy birds. Keep it up!

  2. Cheryl

    I don’t do as much as I’d like to or should, but I try. We have a brush pile, we have left up a couple of (non-threatening) dead trees, feed the birds in winter (can’t other times of year because it attracts bears). I feed the hummingbirds (bears don’t seem to care about the hummingbird feeders). I help my friends ID birds, try to cut down on my use of plastics. I follow you on Facebook & on Be Your Own Birder plus just occasionally 😁 look at other bird sites. I recently bought Smithonian Handbooks Birds of North America to add to my collection. I’ve been trying for years to be able to ID birds by song but I only have a few under my belt. I just bought Cornell’s Bird Songs, 250 North American Birds In Song. 250 is way too many! But it’s helpful to be able to play the songs rather than just reading descriptions (who cooks for you? Really?). Thanks for listening 😁

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