This is my second ‘official’ year as a birder of sorts. Actually, I’ve been casually watching birds for years but somehow never worked up the enthusiasm to bother identifying the various species I didn’t recognize. It was a lazy enjoyment without any sort of catalogue or accounting. All of this changed, however, after I chanced upon iBird, a smartphone app that makes identifying birds a fairly simple task. After successfully using the app to identify an American Dipper that was feeding along the shore of Rolley Lake as my wife and I walked by, I was hooked.
After I installed iBird on my phone, I created a list of all the birds I was certain I’d seen in the recent past by marking them as favourites in the app. This list was quite small as I didn’t want to record any species that I might have mistaken with another in the days when I wasn’t concerned with such details. For that reason, I left most of the various waterfowl, shore, and seabird species off of my list despite having seen a great number of them in the past. This was my initial list:
Gray Jay (Whiskey Jack)
Great Blue Heron
Then, I started keeping an eye out for new birds while out and about. I came across a few birds that I wasn’t able to identify, like the owl, I assume, that flew overhead and vanished among the trees before the synapses in my brain could even light up with owly thoughts. Despite my sluggish synapses, however, I identified and added the following twenty-nine slower moving species to the list:
Still, even with these new additions, it remains a fairly short list. That’s okay. I really don’t want to become an obsessed birder travelling all over the country in search of birds and bragging rights. In fact, I’ve recently discovered and am quite taken with the idea of green birding. These birders focus on the birds they can find within the self-powered reach of their own homes or workplaces. I’ll admit the notion wouldn’t be too much of a hardship on me as I am fortunate to live within walking distance of Burns Bog, but the idea would fit nicely into what I’m already trying to do in terms of weighing the environmental impact of all my actions and, consequently, pursuing only my deepest of interests.