Thursday, September 27, 2012

10 Steps To An Enlightened Birding Experience

 Every now and then I have one of those perfect birding mornings. The weather is perfect, the scenery is spectacular, and all of my senses seem to be operating in high definition. It can be a spiritual feeling that reminds you of how great it is to be alive. Naturally, watching birds on days like this is also great. You have more of an appreciation of each bird you see. I've tried to figure out which conditions or circumstances lead to such a day and came up with the following list of suggestions.  
 
1) Select a birding destination the night before you go:  Choose a location that is secluded, has comfortable walking trails, is naturally scenic, and has good birding habitat.

2) choose a day with ideal weather conditions: I prefer a day with low humidity, little or no wind, and  sunny to mostly sunny conditions.

3) Do tomorrow's chores today: If you have to cut the grass, paint the hatchway, make out bills,  go shopping or whatever, try to get it done today. This will clear your schedule so that you won't be thinking about what needs to be done after you're finished birding.

4) Have all of your equipment and supplies ready to go: Decide what you'll be bringing for your trip such as camera, binoculars, snacks, drinks etc. and have them organized the night before. This way, you can just grab them and go in the morning.

5) Make sure you get a good night's sleep: A good night's sleep will help you feel at your best so that your ready for step 4.

6) Get up early enough so that you can arrive at your destination at day break: This is probably the most important thing.Early in the morning the air is fresher, there's less unwanted noise pollution, the lighting conditions are better, and it gives you more time to enjoy the best hours for birding and photography. Birds seem to be more active and less easily spooked just after daybreak.

7) Coffee, tea, or breakfast? Having a good breakfast will ensure that I won't be thinking about food an hour into my birding trip and a little coffee helps sharpen the senses.

8) Don't think about the past or the future: When you arrive at your destination try to turn your mind off. Concentrate only on what surrounds you at that moment. This may be easier said than done but it is key to being in the zone.

9) Concentrate on your breathing: The air should be clean and cool early in the morning. Take deep, slow, breaths. Listen to the sound of you breathing and feel the air entering your lungs. This type of breathing helps you to relax and stay focused.

10) Use all of your senses to pick up every detail: Listen closely to everything you see, smell, or hear; leaves crackling under your footsteps, the sound of dew drops falling from the trees, the scent of pine mixed with the morning mist, or the subtle movement of leaves in your peripheral vision. Even pay attention to the silence that surrounds the sound.
 Don't worry about which species you see, just enjoy each and every bird to the fullest. I can't promise that these ten steps will lead to a morning of enlightened birding but hopefully it will enhance your overall experience!
 

18 comments:

Carol said...

Since I've started taking pictures of the animals,birds,insects and reptiles...I've noticed more about them than I ever did. Sometimes the most common ones turn out to be the most interesting, if you take the time to really look.

Larry said...

Carol-I agree that the more common species can be just as intereting. It's just that we take them for granted.

John Mendal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Crafty Green Poet said...

very good advice, specially about enjoying whichever species you see!

Sharon Whitley said...

what Carol says is so true - we often ignore the more common birds in favour of more colourful, rarer species but they can be just as interesting and beautifully coloured if you just take time to look!

troutbirder said...

Perfect. I especially like the secluded quiet part and clearing my mind. I also break what I assume to be a birder rule. Dogs not allowed. I bring my GSD Baron. He flushes the LBJ's out of the bushes and waits patiently at my side when I get the camera out...:)

Larry said...

crafty-thanks

Sharon-Yes,it's all in how you look at them.

Troutbirder-Dogs are already sensitive to therri surroundings so you can be zen-buddies!

Dostoy said...

Such stunning photos! Have you thought of sharing them with The Nature Conservancy or another similar organization?

I'm really impressed!!!

Larry said...

Dostoy-thanks-I just increased the size of the photos on the blog and changed the template so that might be the difference you're noticing. The only problem is that my old videos won't play now and I don't know why. I'm always willing to share photos if anyone wanted any.

Cindy said...

If only I liked getting up early.. my signal failure as a birde..

Backyard Bird Paradise said...

It is an amazing difference when everything is perfect on the day of bird watching. Just being in our backyard on these days is sometimes enough to give you a great feeling of enjoyment and peace. Great Post!

Larry said...

Cindy-I really don't get up early much on the weekends for birding either but whenever I do it seems to make a big diffeence.

Backyard Bird Paradise-Yes, I've had great expereinces just sitting in the backyard too.You have the advantage of all the comforts right there and don't need to drive.

dAwN said...

Howdee Larry!
Thanks for the enlightening info..I have to say I do some of this some of the time and all of this once and a while..
Nice reminder.
Hope all is well with you!

Larry said...

Dawn-With a name like Dawn you should be up first of the morning!
I've commented on your blog recently but the link part isn't working for me,I probably need to update somethin or other.

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, what gorgeous photos and great tips! Something we all need to remember and practice!

Larry said...

Kathie-Thanks-much appreciated!

ZielonaMila said...

Beautiful photographs, wonderful views. I am greeting

Larry said...

Thanks for stopping in to comment. I noticed that you can translate from Polish to English on your blog so I'll be sure to check it out.