Be Your Own Birder


As I look back on recent weeks, online and off, birds and non-birding, I see just how much has changed and how crazy life can be. Births and deaths, career shifts in multiple directions, health complications, home repairs, and so much more interfere with the best of intentions each and every day.

The Craziness of Life

To this, I feel the need to apologize for how vanished this site has become in these recent weeks. Just like birds seem to disappear in mid- to late summer, so too have I vanished by necessity as other tasks and demands have come to the fore.

American Goldfinch in Summer - Photo by Sandy Hill :-)
American Goldfinch in Summer – Photo by Sandy Hill 🙂

As each day passes, it feels there are more demands on the ever-limited time available, and I see more and more that becomes inaccessible for want of simple time. Letters have gone unwritten, hobby projects left unfinished, plans unfurled because they just cannot be finished as hoped.

Instead, I’m tangled in every tighter webs of paperwork, professional commitments, volunteer drama, health mitigations, family commitments, and the general craziness that is life at this time of year as the school year gets underway, hurricane season freshens, and holiday plans must begin to be made. But what does this mean for birds and birding?

Birds Survive

While I haven’t been able to refill feeders or sanitize bird baths as often as I’d have liked recently, the birds are fine. My common ground-doves and mourning doves still walk through the grass, picking up spilled seeds and sunning when the mood strikes them. The blue jays, though several have gone through their vulture molts, continue to chase one another through the oak trees, chattering away and squawking loud whenever they have something to say (which is frequently).

Bald Blue Jay
Bald Blue Jay – Photo by Ken Gibson

The red-bellied woodpeckers flit about on their urgent business, the tufted titmice stop by now and then to grab a seed, and the lawn crew of white ibises still prowl the neighborhood methodically providing their services. The northern mockingbirds are flashing their feathers in all corners of the yard, and the young northern cardinals are gradually growing their brighter plumage.

This is a lesson to all of us, the birds WILL survive without our help, if we need to take a step back and reserve a few minutes for ourselves or use those minutes for something else. Birds do not eat solely from bird feeders, and they will find other sources of food, water, and shelter if need by.

But Will I Survive?

The question more on my mind is my own survival. In the maelstrom life has become, I find it harder to segment my time appropriately, to dedicate adequate moments to every aspect I wish I could. The more I have on my to-do list, the less it seems I accomplish.

The to-do list is legendary, and for context, in August included 204 items. July featured 196, June was 210, and May was 220. These are typical numbers for me, and already in September, there are at least 215 items, and more are always added as the month progresses.

Blank To-Do List - Photo by Marco Verch Professional Photographer
Blank To-Do List – Photo by Marco Verch Professional Photographer

These numbers are only work-related – nowhere on the list are school events, volunteer duties, doctor’s appointments, trips to the bank or post office, or household chores such as grocery shopping, housework, or laundry. I do not account for contractor visits, car repair appointments, or any of the other non-work tasks that are part of life’s demands, nor anything unexpected that may come up.

We do many things to aid birds’ survival – add, refill, and clean feeders and baths, put up bird houses and roost boxes, build brush piles, set out nesting materials, practice bird conservation, and so much more.

But how to aid my own survival? Over the years, I’ve had very little success in answering that question, and yet, I do survive. It may mean a few less posts on this website, a bit less social media engagement, or working to trim a few less-essential commitments. I’ve done all of the above in recent weeks, and while I can’t yet see any light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel, there might be the occasional spark or glimmer to lead me down the never-ending path of must-dos and have-tos.

I hope, in the end, you – my readers – will continue to have patience, and will continue to check back for updates. Join in on Facebook, take steps to support Be Your Own Birder, or check out the Instagram page to show your engagement. When I see that readers do indeed use the site, I’m encouraged to spread my wings keep going, no matter how crazy it may make me, to provide more of the birds we all want to spend our time on.

My apologies, and thank you for your patience!

Common Loon Spreading Its Wings - Photo by Ruth Achterhoff-Aust
Common Loon Spreading Its Wings – Photo by Ruth Achterhoff-Aust

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