Haven't had much time to get out birding here recently. Work and other commitments getting in the way. The too few times I have been out, I haven't been seeing much bird wise. However, I have had a few encounters with non-birders that were encouraging to me.
I usually bird a local state park that has a whole slew of different types of people conducting all sorts of behaviors. One day, an older lady and her daughter slowly approached me. She looked worried, as if not knowing what I would do. She then asked me if I was watching birds. I told her that I was a birder. She then asked me if I could answer her natural history questions. She told me that she first went to the state department of natural resources office (park office) to inquire about what kind of bones she had found. She said that the lady at the desk told her "I am sorry, but I just sell boat registrations." So, you may ask what does this have to do with birding?
The conversation quickly turned to birds and to questions about them. She went back to her car and brought out her laptop to show me pictures she had taken on her local farm to see if I could ID them. She was very interested. I had found out that she was my neighbor in a sense, only right down the road. She asked me if I had a card. That got me thinking. I told her that I didn't have a card, but wrote down the URL to my blog and told her that if she had further questions, that she could contact me through it. I have since started working on a business type card to carry around that I can give to non-birders or other birders with my email and blog URL. Many birders already do this with birder patronage cards.
This also made me think of another way we birders can help bring birding more to the forefront. I have noticed recently a shift in natural resource management locally. Kind of like an outsourcing if you will, of public lands. I see that private interest groups such as mountain bike clubs, horse clubs, sports clubs, etc. have been able to manipulate the lands to meet their "needs". I got to thinking. If they can do this, why can't bird clubs do the same to create or improve bird habitat? Or even create a bird trail? While this is not a problem in National Wildlife Refuges, it is a problem in more local public lands. There aren't many NWRs close to me in SW Ohio, so I usually am forced to bird state parks and wildlife areas. I think we as birders need to do a better job at letting our natural resource agencies know that we exist, especially on the local levels.
And since I should have some bird pics, I will leave you with a pic of a nice looking adult Red-shouldered hawk that I snapped out of the car window recently.