All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Hook Bird Story

Like most boys growing up in the '60s and '70s, I got a BB gun for Christmas when I was 10 years old. It was great sport for the kids in our neighborhood to go to the local cemetery and shoot sparrows. One day the next summer I was in my backyard and a bird we called a "yellow breasted robin" made the mistake of landing on the power lines in our yard. I raised my BB gun and shot, it fell to the ground and I ran to pick it up. It was not dead and as I held it in my hands I began to feel the same dread that little Opie Taylor felt in the "Andy Griffith" episode when Opie shot a sparrow with a slingshot. As I looked into the face of this poor bird that seemed to be saying with his eyes, "Why did you do this?" I agonized for what I had done and suddenly felt responsible and obligated to helping this poor creature survive if it were still possible. I nursed it for several days, feeding it grasshoppers, hoping it would recover. Fortunately the BB did not penetrate the thick breast of the bird and he recovered quickly. Within a few days I took him outside and turned him loose. He hung around our yard the rest of the summer; he didn't seem to have any fear of me even though I had shot him. He seemed to have forgiven me for what I did and I learned to love and appreciate this little bird, which led to my obsession with birds today. Many years later I learned that my yellow-breasted robin was actually a Western kingbird, a species of flycatcher that is common to our area in the summer.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why Birding?

I haven't been very diligent in posting on my blog lately, it's been a rough summer. I blew my knee out during the week of the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival and ended up having surgery on it so I haven't spent much time birding. That and I think I lost focus on why I wanted to blog my birding experiences anyway. The real purpose is to document my birding and thoughts for my family and for me and anyone else who might be interested. I always check the comments and Dave and Catie seem to be the only ones who read and comment. Occasionally there have been others for which I am grateful, I always like feed back.

Today I remembered a line from one of my favorite movies, Finding Forrester that says, " the best writing we do is what we write for ourselves". So I am recommitting myself to writing regularly and not only post bird sightings but some of my thoughts on birding and what ever else may be on my mind.

Why birding? I think people who are not birders look on in amazement and how people can become obsessed with this hobby.
As for me I am still a casual birder, I keep a life list that is not all that impressive, after about 12 years of keeping my life list I still haven't reached 300 birds. Birding has benefited my life in many ways, for one it is a release it is a great hobby to relieve stress. It has made me much more aware of and take notice of things going on around me. It has made me several good friends, and most of all it has giving me an opportunity to share my love of nature with others by volunteering at the Nature Center at Farmington Bay.

I do most of my birding with kids that I work with at Farmington Bay to meet their Scouting requirements, I hope that by doing this I can introduce these kids to birds and the environment in a way that they will always remember and gain an appreciation for the birds and the wetlands and therefore do their part to help protect our natural resources.

Well enough for now. Next time I will post about my Hook Bird.