|Swainson's Thrush by Robert Mortensen|
The outdoors was a large part of my childhood. We didn't have a television until I was in my teens, and by then I was in the habit of spending my free time after school outside. I’d walk home and stop in the park, or play in the “woods” (a block or so plot of land covered in trees) before going home for dinner.
My parents wanted me to stay out of trouble, so I was in Boy Scouts from the time I was 12. I went on the camping trips, learned to tie knots, and tried to identify bird calls, but I don't think I was as good at it as I thought I was. The scouts gave me a love for the outdoors that almost became habit.
As I grew up, I continued to spend regular time outside. Family reunions were always camping trips; I would spend at least a weekend every summer out in the woods or hiking in the mountains. When I had children, I of course continued the tradition and tried to get them to enjoy the wilderness as much as I did.
|Claire learning to be a birder, by Robert Mortensen|
It took for few years before someone asked me advice about bird watching “since you're such an avid birder.” That’s when I realized that I was a birder. So there’s not a specific moment that turned me into a birder, or a first experience that changed my life. It’s really a combination of how I was raised and how I like to spend my time. Raising my children the same way only helped to enforce that. Now I take my grandchildren on camping trips and hikes as often as we can.