I’m a birder. A complete novice amateur, but I am birding, so therefore I am a birder. Apparently it is not called bird watching. It is called birding, like fishing or hunting, but nicer. To be a birder, you basically need just a few things: functioning eyeballs, binoculars, a book or other resource to aid in bird identification, and some birds to look at. Like anything else, once you start to pay attention, you see it everywhere.
Since I lost my daughter I have felt a pull towards birds. I can’t explain why exactly. Birds bring me comfort. They are a beautiful distraction. The subtle differences are intriguing. But most of all, birds make me think of my baby girl. I associate one particular bird with her especially, but all close encounters with birds, for some reason, make me feel closer to her. Don’t ask me why.
I have started a birding Life List. I want to remember all of these bird moments. The whole process of spotting them, looking at them, studying the details, and then trying to positively identify them is a very satisfying process. As I attempt to survive my grief and trauma, birds, at times, can help me keep my head above water.
My Life List is not all the birds I have ever seen in my life. The list is every bird I have positively identified since I started paying attention, around March 2017.
I saw a new bird today. It made me happy. Living with grief and PTSD as I do, happiness is a complicated feeling. It always begins with happiness and then eventually changes into longing, despair, pain, and so on. However, the birding happiness moment I had today inspired me to share. So here it is. My Birding Life List