On Blogging and Birding and Me

Beloved Birders,

I started this blog a few months after I started birding because I realized that the only way I can make sense of birds and this strange world of birding and birders is if I write about them, because writing is just about the only thing I know how to do. (Not quite true: I’m a gifted sleeper, too. And eater. And I know a few languages. And I can play the piano at a very moderate pace. I can almost do a pirouette in adult ballet class, and a few years ago I came close to becoming a mean machine on the badminton court. So, I shouldn’t sell myself short. I am nothing if not polyvalent.)

For the past couple of years I haven’t been posting much because I’ve been working on a book about becoming an unintentional birder, and the project looks a whole lot more book-like than it did even a year ago, so I’m proud of that. It is still a ways from becoming a for-real book, but that too is part of the fun.

This morning, I went birding even though it was -13, winds pounded my face, and I didn’t last too long by the water. But nevertheless, I wandered into some shrubs and came across 12 Northern Cardinals chasing one another, acting frankly a little too randy for the weather. There were just as many Black-capped Chickadees darting about without paying me any heed. One nearly landed on my nose. I’ve always wondered about those photos people post: selfies w/chickadee on one’s head. It turns out most of them probably aren’t even staged: a chickadee is likely to land on anything, especially if there’s food in the picture.

When the wind wasn’t bossing me around, I also managed to see a decent, though not spectacular, assortment of ducks, including Long-tailed, Redhead, Greater Scaup (ha! it might have been lesser — I haven’t gotten that far in my bird skills yet), Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common & Red-breasted Mergansers. And as I watched this scene, I realized that I’ll likely be blogging about birds for many years yet. As long as I’m still learning something new and still asking questions and still looking up birds in my field guide and still misidentifying so much of what I see and still marvelling at plumage, I’ll be writing about it.I’ve long been inspired by Kerry Clare, my favorite blogger, and how she uses her blog as a space to process the world around her (and write fantastic book reviews). More than anything, I like the way she stresses the in-progress/in-process-ness of blog. It’s so very much like birding, really: you go out there, no matter the weather, and what you end up seeing will, without a doubt, surprise you if you’re open to noticing what’s in front of you. And slowly, strangely, miraculously, one sighting will inform another, and before you know it a narrative thread will emerge.

In other words, I’ll be blogging about birds until I’m dead.

So thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting. There are exciting things on the horizon, both birding-wise and travel-wise and writing-wise.

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