Why you should consider birding as a hobby

My first real picture of a bird was with a Canon Powershot Super Zoom.  (Fantastic little cameras for the price by the way.)  I was thrilled and amazed that I could zoom in close enough, to not only fill the frame with a bird, but also recognize that the bird had features I'd never noticed before.  I drove around looking for more and more species of  birds and tried to capture them on my camera.  It was an exciting hunt for me.  Once I collected a half dozen different birds, the next obvious question was "I wonder what kind of birds these are?"   AllAboutbirds.org taught me what those first birds were and hundreds more since then. Thank you internet!

It's a popular hobby for a reason

Those early pictures have lead me to discover a whole world not known before.  Birding is a  hobby enjoyed by a lot of people both young and old.

So why should you consider learning more about this outdoor hobby?

It's a stress reliever -  A funny thing happens when I hunt down a bird with my camera. Everything else just melts away.  It's just me and the bird.  I don't think of work, I don't think of stress I just enjoy.  I work in a cubicle by day and I've not found anything that releases stress as fully as taking pictures of wildlife or birds. It doesn't need to take more than 20 minutes a day but it sure relaxes me.

It's discovery -    I like seeing wildlife in nature. Taking a camera or binoculars when I go out heightens the awareness of what I'm doing in nature. I feel as though I'm discovering. Discovering is what I like the most. Discovering a new animal, bird or scene.

It's hunting without the blood :) -  I have come to love the hunt. Mapping out places to go. Researching or reading about the migration patterns. Even sneaking up on something to get a good look or snap a picture feels like hunting to me and when I get a good shot I don't have to worry about cleaning anything up.   I've yet to use camouflage in my efforts but I've seen or heard of plenty that do.

Connection to nature and people - I'll never forget the day I woke up at 5AM to drive an hour and a half away to meet  up with my brother at a sage-grouse lek.  It was just before dawn in the middle of no-where Utah and  there were 5 or 6 cars there too.  Nut jobs I tell you!  But we had a good time attempting to get pictures of birds doing their mating rituals in the predawn light. Birding trips are quite common as are forums and groups on the internet.  Birding  a way to connect with nature and it is surprisingly social as well.

A funny thing happens when you start noticing birds.  You also start noticing others that are noticing birds.  Search the hashtag #birdfreaks on Instagram for example you will find scads of people.

I also follow friends or family on Flickr and Google+ who post regularly their pictures of birds and wildlife and it's always fun to see what they've been up to.  It's a good way to connect.

Go ahead and give it a try.


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