Thursday, February 5, 2009

I and the Bird #93: The Compelling Nature of Birds

Have you ever wondered why so many people spend so much time watching birds? Not just a few people, millions of people everywhere, all over the world.
We write about them, photograph them, sketch and paint them. We bring them closer with our cameras, our binoculars, our spotting scopes. We plan trips to see them, make and meet friends around them, count them, survey and list them. And the amazing thing about it, we don’t have to go much farther than our own yards to enjoy and study birds. There is a vast array of color, song, diversity and interesting behavior waiting for us right outside our own back doors.

In this 93rd edition of I and the Bird, we’ll show you a sampling of the many different ways people enjoy this passion called “birding”. And make no mistake about it, on the human side of things, birding activities are just as varied as the personalities of the people who pursue them. The one common theme you will find in all bird-loving activities--an enduring interest and enjoyment of birds in their natural world.

It starts with a bird, a discovery, the unexpected.

Jeff at Jeffery A. Gordon will introduce you to how it all begins, even Before the Spark, and give you a sampling of other spark stories. A love for birds can start any time, anywhere.

You'll find nature walks are one of the most common ways people enjoy birds. Some walks are casual and solitary. Others are focused and organized. Most contain hopes and aspirations. All can turn up surprises.

Duncan at Ben Cruachan-natural history in Australia, shares his Friday night walk with us as he enjoys his canine companion and the birds that sing and pose for his camera.

Amika at Madras Ramblings in India decribes her excitement, I saw the tallest flying bird! as her chance encounter with Sarus cranes gives witness to a courtship display.

Barb of My Bird Tales takes a walk with her husband along a quiet lake and has a surprise encounter with not one, but three bald eagles, exclaiming, I had my own 'Inaugeral' ball this afternoon... !

Bob and Cynthia in Two Birders to Go ask, "You know how to pish, don't you?" as they lead us on a trail of pishing practice that upturns a tiny surprise.

Amila of Gallicissa takes us along on his Sri Lankan birding trip in Christmas Birding and turns up numerous species and some rare finds.

David at Search and Serendipity is proclaiming it A Happy First Day of Spring! as he listens and watches bird behavior and turns an eye to the ground.

Patrick at The Hawk Owl's Nest had a Two "state bird" day demonstrating that you never know what you will find when you set out for the field.

Rick at Aimophila Adventures in Arizona enjoys a birding reunion of sorts, as a whole host of new acquaintances and old friends bid “farewell” to wintering migrants in “The Sulphur Springs Valley”.

John at A DC Birding Blog takes us Birding Along the C&O Canal to share his survey and a brush with a golden eagle.

Places to find birds can range from far away journeys to backyard feeders, but no matter how common or uncommon the bird may be, birders enjoy the satisfaction of recapturing and sharing their experiences through art, photography and verse.

Stephen Lyn of Nature Calling found himself drawn to it, compelled to sketch a kingfisher that paused to preen.

Debbie of The Motmot discovers Mysterious Sounds, Wondrous Sights, and Birds, Birds, Birds! on a trip to the Amazon with purpose.

Toni at A Spattering gets a surprising visit and shares Cooper Hawk Tales through her art and a video from her own backyard.

At my blog, Vickie Henderson Art, sketches bring suet-loving blue jays closer and a late night snapshot reveals more than birds partake of Zick Dough--Romance, Laughter, Intrigue.

Beth at Buffleheads has Fun with Cardinals, gathering amusing photo observations at a busy feeder.

Amber at Birder's Lounge introduces her new photo/info series about ducks and geese with Duck Duck Goose: Lesser Scaup.

Caroline at Caroline at Coastcard [Land and Lit] enjoys entwined white necks just before it snows in Postcard 17: Snow White.

Sometimes birders gather to experience the rare and seldom seen. Others give their attention to unique habits and characteristics that make a common species special. Still others cast a steady and watchful eye toward species in danger of disappearing.

James at Birdman in Lark Plains Lammergeier takes us on an eloquently described journey through time and the African plains to show us the world of the critically endangered Beesley's or Maasai Lark.

Charlie at 10,000 Birds explains It's all about the Echos... and takes us to Black River Gorges National Park to witness dedication that brought wild Echo Parakeets and Pink Pigeons back from the brink.

Larry at The Birder’s Report finds a long-legged neighbor visits less frequently in Burrowing Owl Conservation in California and shows us the owl's compelling personality.

Alan at Birds 'n Such includes his own sketch while Remembering Bob and youthful excursions that included the declining Bobwhite quail.

Owlman at Owl Box-It's an Owl's Life! discovers what looks like another sparrow and ends up Chasing the elusive Green tailed Towhee in NJ.

Jeff at the Boreal Bird Blog remembers the first time he saw a Northern Hawk Owl! and gets an opportunity to share the same experience with his son.

Mike at The Feather and the Flower hones in on a lump of snow and declares with satisfaction, There's Owls in Them Thar Fields!

Nick at Biological Ramblings finds fascination in the Amazing Wings of a sunbittern, a bird you won't find related to any other you know.

Nate at The Drinking Bird is thrilled as a Tufts Grad as he awaits an official ID on a “lifer”.

On the other hand, Diane at Sabino Canyon focuses on 5 Reasons to Love Cactus Wrens , a bird that might otherwise seem like just another common bird.

Nancy at the Zen Bird Feeder grabs our attention with Stop, Look, and Siskin! describing the irruptive nature and habits of pine siskins found at many feeders this winter.

Seabrook at the Marvelous in Nature features Canada's nuthatch and gives us some of its finer points and little know secrets.

Max at Apartment Biology finds himself leaning toward Cardinals in Super Bowl Biogeography.

Curiosity and learning are as much a part of birding as finding the bird. It can be as simple as seeing a new species for the first time or witnessing behavior that aids understanding or stimulates more questions. There are no limits here. Some even follow their curiosities into deeper studies that uncover little-known secrets in our natural world.

Allison at Mama Bird tells us the symptoms of Hawk Owl Fever, a disease you may have never heard of, that suddenly infected all ages in Maine.

GirlScientist at Living the Science Life takes us on an amazing exploration as we Meet the Great Speciators: The White Eyes.

Tony at Tyto Tony in Australia wonders if he’s discovered Lorikeet catnip as he watches a Rainbow Lorikeet over the Top.

Kevin at Notes from the WildSide says Kids ask the best questions! when a youngster's curiosity about Magnificent Frigatebirds leaves him speechless.

Trevor at Trevor's Birding in Australia discovers that An airconditioned Thornbill can be appreciative too!

James at Coyote Mercury marvels On Seeing New Birds and makes some interesting observations in the process.

Y C Wee at Bird Ecology Study Group gives us a single snapshot of the Blue-tailed Bee-eater and the dragonfly and leaves a lasting impression.

Susannah at Wanderin’ Weeta delves deeper when On a grey day, all the colours motivate her to find out more.

Connie at Birds of the Morning can see 14 flickers at a time and in A Flickering Light...Whos Who in Colorado gives us the finer points of flickers gone hybrid.

Eric at Neighborhood Nature wonders, Are Robins A Sign of Spring? and takes his inquiry deeper to see what the answers bring.

Robert at The South Florida Watershed Journal, gives us a brief glimpse of the Pileated woodpecker in action.

Rick at The Wingbeat: The WINGS Birding Blog sends us an Alert: White-tailed Eagle in Alaska and a rare photograph from Kodiak Island.

Ways to enjoy birds are as diverse and plentiful as the birds themselves. There's a style and speed for everyone. But be forewarned before you embark on any birding activity--birds are compelling. Who knows where they might lead you!


  1. This is terrific! I love the theme and the caution at the end, that birds are compelling, and you never know where they might lead you.

  2. I am at work now and can't indulge but I just had to check out the offerings. This Bird Blog Carnival is like buying a book of food ghost stories (one of my favorite genres) and drooling over the titles in the Table of Contents for some good reading later that night.

    4:30 needs to get here quickly!

  3. Awesome post Vickie! It is going to take me all week to go through your line-up. And thank you for including me. I'm looking forward to some really excellent reading.

  4. Outstanding, Vickie! This edition is huge.

  5. Hi Vickie--

    Congratulations--you did it! Now sit back and enjoy entertaining lots of new guests.

    And top billing for my post, no less...XXXOOO!

    Seems like you're off to a great start in your second year of blogging.



  6. Hey dont forget about us NYC urban birders...

  7. Great post, Vickie! And so many wonderful links! I'll be reading them all week.

  8. First words out of my mouth when I saw the picture. "Oh how Cute!"

  9. So may lovely blogs...I cant take it in one go. Will be back to read more!

    And I love your whooping crane paintings!

  10. What a collection Vickie, must be one of the biggest ever. Well done.

  11. Great article Vickie! A lot of submissions in this edition.

    Great work!

  12. Fabulous, Vickie! I wish I had been organized enoug to participate this time...

    Now I have lots of reading to do!

    I enjoyed your artful style in hosting this great carnival.



  13. Wow Vickie! Great IATB! 42 posts now to enjoy over the next couple of days (I'm glad I have the weekend off).

    Thanks for your work to make this a super I And The Bird! Now relax and enjoy!

  14. Vickie - you had a lot to do and you did a great job! Well done!

  15. What a great post! There is soooo much information here that it will take me a few weeks to go through it all. I am just going to have to bookmark this post so I can keep coming back to it when I have a moment or two.


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For the Love of It...

...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.
Sendivogius (1750)

Your Uncapped Creativity...

Your Uncapped Creativity...
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly." ----the great dancer, Martha Graham