Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Here Birdie Birdie ..

Finally! I just reached the 300 lifetime bird mark .. almost 2 years after Terry, Larry & Jerry got me hooked on the damn things. Wintering in South Texas has its drawbacks. Getting hooked on birding and butterflying are two of them. A few years ago, I could take a walk in a park and enjoy watching the birds flit & fly about and listen to their songs and just be happy, but not anymore.

Fast-forward to today and I can't go to a park without binoculars and a bird book ... I stop, start, wait watch,stalk and listen to everything that flits, flies and rustles. I am a danger driving down the highway if there are birds on the wires or flying over head. My dog has learned to stop if she hears bird noises, sometimes she just lays down as I tip toe around trying to get a good view of a bird. People stare as you sit in a car by feeders for hours, hoping to get a glimpse of a bird that was reported to be there.  My obsession is bad!

Terry, Larry & Jerry did me in when they 'enticed' me to take a bird trip.  I just wanted to see what all the buzz was about and I saw something like 68 different birds all in a few hours. There are big ones, little ones, all colors, shapes and sizes .. some have wing bars, some eye rings .. who knew all this stuff? The sad thing to say is that once you cross a line and go beyond the 'a bird has 2 feet, feathers and a beak' it can be hard going back. In South Texas, the birding group went once a week and I went when I could .. but now that I am fully obsessed, every day is a birding day ...I even check out the birds flitting in the bushes when I go to the grocery store. I plan trips based on birds.  I drive miles to see birds...  I used to make fun of people standing around looking in the trees with their binoculars and now I are one. The tragedy!

Today while out 'officially' birding, I met a couple of hippie guys. They had to be about 50 but didn't look to differently than I they likely did in the 60's or early 70's. I thought it unusual to see hippies out in a birding area .. but birding they were & they knew their stuff and were excited about all the birds in the area. One of them told me he too got hooked on birds in South Texas. He said 25 years ago he went down to the border to visit a friend and saw his first green jay and has been birding ever since. When this guy headed to Texas 25 years ago I am sure he had no intention of checking out the local fauna.  He was probably looking for a buzz yet he still got hooked on the birds none the less.  The glit in the eye of the green jay was too much for him!


So my advice to you is this .. if someone invites you to go look at a few birds with them .. run!! Run fast and run far, do not gaze upon the colorful feathers or catch the glit of their little eyes .. run!

Whether or not you are in the grip of the winged ones or not .. you might like some pics from one of my fellow South Texas bird obsessees, Fred Walsh, who is actually quite good with a camera.  His pics from the winter months contain some great pics of the birds of South Texas.  The Rio Grande Valley of South Texas truly is a birders paradise.  Here are some links for birding information in the area: World Birding Center, Santa Ana NWR, Laguna Atascosa NWR, and Sabal Palms Audubon Center.   To find out more about Birding in your area contact the National Audubon Society.

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