My grandmother would spend hours looking out her kitchen window at the flocks of birds fighting over space on her man made bird feeders. To me that seemed like a waste of time, and well… really quite boring. Birds kind of annoyed me back then. They reminded me it was 5:00 a.m. which was not a good feeling because I was either waking up too early or getting home too late. 😱 The seagulls at the beach would steal the food right out of our hands. The geese on my grandmother’s farm would chase me until I cried and still today I am the “lucky” one that gets pooped on by those flying over. I now think that it’s intentional, its a conspiracy!
I never knew birding was a thing until I met Jorge. The master of all birders! I promise…. I’ll put $ on him.🤑 I have always felt a sweet connection with nature- I love the outdoors. So, I was totally down when Jorge invited me to go birding for the first time. It has been a few years since my induction into the birders club and I am still quite the amateur but I have fallen in love with The Art of Bird Watching.
Here are a few reasons why I think everyone -all ages- should give it a try:
Most of us have heard that meditation is good for our mental health, but those of us who have tried know it can be a challenge to quiet the monkey brain. The first time I went birding I noticed immediately the mentally calming effect it had for me. You have to be quiet, so no phones or music and very little talking with each other. You must walk lightly and be mindful of your space. You must be in the present moment. With my face to the sky, my lungs filled with delicious oxygen, and my focus on the birds (which is like a silent mantra), it wasn’t long before I drifted into a deep meditative state. I find that bird watching creates the perfect balance of staying present and letting go. There are scientific studies to back this up, if you are interested let me know and I will find them for you.
it’s a competitive “sport”
I’m not sure if you can consider birding a sport, it’s not something we will see in the Olympics, there is not much physical training or strength required but there is a high level of competition involved. Who doesn’t like a little friendly competition? The challenge is to find as many different species as possible. The more rare the species the higher the respect. The ultimate score is a lifer, or a bird that you’ve never seen before. There are huge birding festivals around the world every year at different times, depending on the local season for migration. These events are for the serious competitors! In the past we would have to carry a pen and paper to keep track of your treasures, but now thanks to technology and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology we have the app ebird to help us collect, save & share our lists digitally.
Bird Watching is for every budget. A good set of binoculars is highly recommended, so that you can see the details. Some birds will have only one tiny defining feature that can not be seen by the naked eye from far away. Nothing else is actually needed for an enjoyable time with the birdies. However, for all you gear lovers out there….. here is some of the gear that we love.
Columbia Outdoor Wear: for lightweight, long sleeves and long pants. Trust me … you do not want to wear yoga pants for birding or any activity in the outdoors. The bugs (f’ing mosquitos) bite right through the form fitting fabrics. A hat and a balaclava are not bad ideas either for the ultimate protection from the elements.
Osprey Day Trip Hydration backpacks: This way you have water very easy whenever you want it- leaving your hands free! It’s also the perfect size to carry your belongings for a day excursion.
Swiss Army: You just never know when you will need tweezers, a magnifying lens, a knife, a screwdriver, a pen, a wine opener or any one of the other 40 tools the Swiss have managed to put into this compact tool. Victorinox Expedition Kit
Binoculars: The Nikon Monarch HG Binoculars are the mac daddy of all binos and their price reflects that. We use the Nikon Prostaff 7S 8 x 42 and we think the performance is very comparable to that of the Monarchs. If you want the best of the best, you might want to invest in a Swarovski Scope.
**we are not receiving $ from any of these companies, we just like them
Quality time with our loved ones
The most regretted thing is life is not spending more time with those we love. Life is fast and furious but we do remember those moments that we slow down and really become present with our loved ones. Bird watching and spending time outdoors, is a good place to capture these moments. I wish I would have understood this and knew about birding when my grandmother was looking out of her window at the birdies. I would have taken her outside, shared a pair binoculars and relished in the precious moments that we had together.
the early bird gets the worm
For the night owls, I know it can be hard for you to wake up with the birdies but I promise it will be worth it. Have your gear packed and your clothes laid out the night before so that you can basically roll out of bed and go. Don’t worry about your coffee, tea, snacks, or having to drive Green Maya has you covered! How many times have you watched the sunrise? Sunsets are wonderful, but sunrises bring a new day, an opportunity to begin again. #exhale
Speaking of night owls, birding is not limited to early mornings, some of the hunters come out at night. Night birding is a unique experience, slightly creepy but also very exhilarating.
birds are captivating and beautiful
Didn’t you know? …. I will let the photos do the talking.
As always we would love to hear from you. If you have a comment, a question or a correction to any of the content in the post- PLEASE do us a favor and share in the comments section below.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin
Sara @ Green Maya Tulum
Ecotourism that combines nature, spirit, and culture to deliver the ultimate guided outdoor experience.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER AND SHARING IS CARING :)
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