Well, I guess this is it. I have finally done the inevitable, I have finally decided I need to share my birding experiences with the general public, instead of hiding my lists away in binders, for I dunno my grandson to find some 50 years later. Yes, I guess every birder may come to this point where they want to become exhibitionists. Well if nothing else, maybe I can show people I have a personality, I may be obsessed with these feathered creatures, but I can have fun with it as well?
Ahem, anyways, where to start? I've been a "birder" since the ripe age of thirteen. Though, in reality, I've always had a fascination with our natural world ever since I can remember. I attribute a lot of this with my grandfather. Since I was old enough to walk, every Sunday him and my Grandmother would take me out to lakes, parks, or bird sanctuaries. We would drive through Kootenay National Park, all of us intently waiting the next animal we would see on the road. My grandfather always liked to see Herons, in Cranbrook where I grew up they were not so common as on the coast.
I guess just appreciating nature in that way would probably have sufficed me for the rest of my life, but it wasn't until I was 13 and on vacation with my mom that I discovered birding. It was in a book store outside of Vernon, where I used some of my vacation money to purchase the Stokes guide to Birds of Western North America. It was my second official field guide, my first being that old Audubon’s field guide, the one with the pictures in one place and the descriptions in the other. Back then I thought that book was the bees knees, now I cringe when I look at the god awful photographs. They blurry flycatchers, the bleached out Goldeneyes. I still have it of course, and even the updated ones, I love collecting bird books no matter how irrelevant.
Anyways, it wasn’t exactly the field guide itself, the pictures were a step up from the Audubon’s, and I liked that each page had the range map and description right there. It was the opening writing. Donald and Lillian Stokes talked about how birdwatchers could keep lists, life lists, month lists, location lists. It had never occurred to me before!
It was that August of 07 I made my first Life list, it was a decent list I guess, for a starter. Even before I was a birder, I still loved and watched birds, I think it was somewhere below 100 species. I also started my August month list, which turned out to be like 57 species.
Even though I started listing, I still had no idea there were real birders out there. I lived in Cranbrook, and I had never seen a birder before. I didn't have internet out there, there was no such thing as bird groups, or list servs, or rare bird alerts. I just figured I was some weird kid who was doing something really lame. My friends never even knew I was a birder for like 3 years, then one day they caught me alone in my room, feverishly devouring a Birders World mag.
Anyways, its been 14 years and my life list is still fairly small compared to a lot of people, but too be fair 85 percent of it consists of birds I’ve seen in southern B.C. But from now on I guess my birding experiences shall not just be stored in my mind, or in my binders, nor on my Ebird account. They shall now be public record...on this said blog..last of the curlews.