Bird Watching: Make Much of Mundane Mornings

They say that artists have the ability to make us see the world in a new way. They can take the mundane and make it extraordinary.

By this measure, some of the most successful works of art that I’ve ever read include:

  • Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which makes food surprisingly fascinating.
  • Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman, which makes dictionaries surprisingly fascinating.
  • David Sibley’s The Sibley Guide to Birds, which makes the morning surprisingly refreshing.

This is my first spring in North America in several years, and I have to admit that I didn’t realize how much I missed birds.

They couldn’t have come at a better time, either.

Working from home can be a pretty long, idle process, especially during winter. Coworkers can irritate, but sometimes it’s nice to have company. It gets to a point where you’re willing to talk with cats extensively about the day’s tasks.

“Do you think we should get back to work, Nia?”

By “we” I mean “me.” Nia will continue to sleep — or if she is awake, she will continue staring at me.

It gets to a point that you don’t mind a cat staring at you.

Life was starting to get a little too mundane.

So I was pleased to notice that there was a lot of birdsong outside the other day. It’s still pretty chilly in the morning, but I put on a sweater so that I could open the window. I used to know a lot of calls, but most of them are gone now. My field guides are still in Canada, which makes identification a little difficult. However, it doesn’t take a lot of work to reach a point where you can identify a lot of birds while taking out the recycling.

This morning, I spotted a Hairy Woodpecker, an American Robin, a Northern Cardinal, and a White-Throated Sparrow.

If you’re interested in taking your mundane morning and turning it into something extraordinary, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a little more about the birds in your area. Spring is a perfect time to study birds because of migration and because the trees do not have leaves yet. In other words, it’s easier to see the birds while they sing.

Advanced birders will have to decide for themselves whether it’s worth walking around the neighborhood with binoculars.


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