I wonder, have these experts forgotten what it was like when they were brand new to birding? That overpowering urge to spend every waking moment looking at birds. That desire to learn more and more and know all the birds in your area. And the overwhelming number of birds that were out there and the feeling that, if you lived to be 100, you'd never figure them all out.
Now, what if your field guide had been able to talk to you when you were a beginner? Can you tell me that you would not have asked it to tell you what bird you had just seen? I will never be so far along in birding that I forget the overpowering, heart pounding, doors-to-a-new-world-flung-wide-open joy that discovering birds brought to every day of my life. I will never forget how I felt when I saw my first Brown Thrasher, my first Fox Sparrow, my first Eastern Phoebe.
|I am 100% certain that Jimi Hendrix was a birder and that |
he wrote "Foxy Lady" about Fox Sparrows!
If Facebook, with all of its birding groups and friendly, accessible experts, had been around when I was a starry-eyed beginner, I have no doubt that I would have rushed to ask the people I'd connected with there -- people filled with magical powers who could tell me what this new bird was -- for their help. Have we become so stodgy and impossible that we would consider it bad form for beginners to post a photo and ask for help with the ID? I'm not suggesting that this is the best way to learn bird ID, not at all. I still think that the best way to learn is for folks to spend time outside with birds, a good binocular, and a field guide. But wouldn't it be much better for everyone involved -- including the birds -- if we simply coached them through the process of identification, or, suggested in a helpful and gentle way, that they spend at least a few days puzzling over the discovery and looking through a field guide, and then, if they were still stuck, encourage them to come back to work through the bird with us?
|This tiny Saw-whet Owl reminds you that nice is better than mean!|
Thanks for reading. And remember, BIRDS RULE!