Just a few years ago, we had an elderly couple as neighbors at our home in Wake Forest, NC. The woman was an avid bird watcher, so much to the extent that it made her a squirrel-hater. She claimed they got after, and scared her birds away. She even had a small pellet gun to shoot them, to scare them away, much to our dismay and complaining.
Thoughts on birdwatching
Let’s just say, we weren’t fans, and the feeling was mutual. Her husband probably found her bird fascination to be a nice diversion from her other hobby, ordering things from QVC. It also kept her on the back porch for extended periods of time. Considering that he would go to Florida for half of the year to work as a Disney World Monorail driver to help preserve their marriage, I am sure he valued her separating herself to the porch, much the same way.
Birdwatching is Cool
Fast forward a few years later, as we have discussed in our blogs, Shannon and I have spent most of the last couple of months quarantining during the current pandemic. There is much outdoor time in our wonderful backyard by the water. We sit in our big lawn rockers, with a little music, and a baby pool to cool off in. Betty White (our pup) has a nice small fenced area we set up for her, alongside us, equipped with her own beach umbrella. She probably enjoys it more than we do.
The capper to these afternoons is that we have a late-day happy hour, followed by a toast to the sunset. Betty White has dinner, I have a beer, and the Mrs. indulges in wine. Over time, you find yourself staring in the direction of the creek, the river, and nature in general.
Other Wildlife Watching
There is more wildlife than I have ever seen at a place I have lived. I have spent most of my life in suburban areas until recently. There are big box turtles this time of year, and a family of gophers, too. I have seen a fox or two, along with several outdoor cats, who stroll leisurely through the neighborhood, but the major attraction is birds and fowl. Our next-door neighbors have two chickens, and they often feed in our backyard. They live harmoniously with the geese, owls, cranes, seagulls, hawks (not always harmoniously), and ducks. Of course, all of the usual small birds are in abundance, too. I recently spotted a red-headed woodpecker that looked like Woody.
I had never seen one in all of my born days. The geese take center stage in this fancy, feathered parade of ours. Every spring, the geese mate and spend their days leading their small group of baby geese through the tall grass, to eat, and on the creek for swimming. We look out our window, first thing in the morning, to see if they are feeding, and how close they are in proximity to our home. They also mingle freely with the ducks and chickens when they are in our yard. Anything threatening like a hawk or a crane, and the adult geese gather their young ones, quickly, for protection.
This all brings me full circle, back to how this article began. Our bird lady neighbor, we laughed at, not long ago, isn’t so different from us. Sure, our variety is much greater, the closer to the water we are, and we don’t shoot the squirrels, but the fascination is similar. The performance these birds put on, is threaded through our day, from start to finish… particularly on nice days.
We watch them with the same fascination our neighbor did, and speak of, and laugh at their antics- antics of a most fowl nature. 😊 Birdwatching can be meditative.
Do you find yourself with new hobbies or practices during quarantine? If so, please share them with us.