500 Words Challenge

My 500 Words Challenge: Day 9

Today’s assignment was to teach something. As I write this I am sitting and watching birds outside my window. Might sound boring to some, but I have learned to see these little creatures as beautiful and unique and quite pleasurable to watch. So, for the sake of helping you take a breath and see the world around you, I’d like to share with you a bit about how to watch birds.

First of all, you should get comfortable. What I mean by this is you should maybe have slippers or a nice pair of comfortable walking or running shoes on. Perhaps you might also have tea or coffee in your favorite mug in hand. A pair of binoculars doesn’t hurt either.

Next, check to see that your feeders and bird baths are full so that the birds will come. If you feed them they will come. Just like me, but I digress…

Next you need to position yourself in a place that allows you a good view. Birds move around a lot so you will want to be able to see the feeders, baths, and the ground below and tree branches above.

After you find a good view point in which to stand or sit, get settled.

Now, you may be thinking you do not want to make this an event or have time for such things. You may be thinking “I usually just glance out the window as I’m doing all my stuff…” If that’s you, you can still birdwatch and even enjoy it. You’d be surprised how much you can see in a few short seconds.

If you are getting excited about this bird watching thing and already want to buy the t-shirt, I have good news for you. You can turn from watcher to scientific observer and become part of a citizen scientist program like I did at Project Feederwatch.

Go here if you are interested: https://feederwatch.org/

Now that you are settled, let’s talk a little about what to look for as you stare out the window that makes this whole thing interesting.

When you see a bird, take note of the following:

  • How do they move?
  • What color are they?
  • Are they big or small?

When you go from saying, “Hey, there’s a bird” to “Hey, look at that tiny grey and white bird jumping down that tree upside down” your observation skills are starting to make things exciting.

Soon, you will find that you want to know what that tiny grey and white bird is called.  (Pygmy nuthatch by the way) You will begin to notice what their feathers look like. You will wonder if their beak is different than the other bird next to it. Is their tail feather long or is it shorter and closer to their body? Are they small enough to fit into your hand or are they large and something you wouldn’t want landing or pooping on you?

As you choose to ask yourself even two questions about a bird you see, you will begin to notice even more that causes you to ask more questions. You’ll find similarities and differences and your curiosity will grow.

This is very basic advice I’ve given you but it’s a start. You might be surprised at how little you’ve seen outside your window.

Until you make a conscious effort to really pay attention, you may only know a bird has flown by, not that it was a Scrub Jay with a peanut in its mouth.

I hope next time you see a bird, you stop for a moment to see. They have fun little quirks and beautiful designs and colors that I think we are meant to appreciate. You may even learn the ones that are friendly and like to nibble up close and personal like this mountain chickadee below.

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If you try anything I have suggested please let me know. I’d love to hear stories of the birds in your world.