Saturday, January 5, 2013

National Bird Day

January 5th is National Bird Day.






The National Bird of the United States is the Eagle with all its grace and splendor. It could have been the turkey if Ben Franklin had his way. Now see if you would have sat on the bench outside Betsy Ross's House for storytelling by Once Upon a Nation, you would have known that.



Turkeys are cool with those fancy feathers but the Eagle has landed just sounds right.  Turkey touchdown sounds more like sport. Ben got so many other things correct.


This is not the paparazzi, they are serious birders.  Look at those lenses!!! That was the day I realized, size matters, but I love competition and birders love to educate. I am still in the learning phase.


The platform in the foreground located at the Cape May Point Lighthouse in New Jersey is one of the top birding sites in the country.  Keep that information under your beak or go there sometime and enjoy the scenery.


I am not sure when you officially earn your wings, but I have been a bird watcher for about 9 months now and I venture to say I have photographs of over 100 different birds I have taken this past year, probably a lot more. One day I will organize and document them, it is a project. It's amazing who is trekking across our skies. I have yet to identify many in my photographs but the good news is, there is an app for that and birds.cornell.edu has a great website. Observe the birds in the barren tree straight ahead.  See em?  Nah, neither did I, but the pros up on the platform were swearing they were ????? so I took the picture and lo and behold something is sitting out there and sometimes you just "gotta believe".

Photograph taken by Ray Rolls of California, taken in his own backyard.

 Locally, I love Heinz Wildlife Refuge , in Tinicum. It is a peaceful area that offers trails to hike and bike and bird watch as you stroll. There is always an event going on to further your interest, check their calendar. Ridley, Tyler, Taylor, Rose Tree, all these parks offer different vantage points, anywhere with trees really including your own backyard. Alright even I know this is not a bird, but reluctantly they do sometimes share food.

 

The beach has a great selection, it doesn't only belong to one of the several types of seagulls you can find there and also by the bay. There is a movie out called The Big Year and Jack Black's character makes a big deal out of a Piping Plover. I spotted my first piping plover at Holgate on LBI. The one to the left with the black collar is the plover, the others are sandpipers. Holgate was pretty tore up from Hurricane Sandy.  I hope all peeps will get to return to their homes again this year for a safer and more secure season.


Birdwatching is a non-violent activity.  What I like about it is, it makes you look up.  You are out in and cavorting with nature, getting a free dose of Vitamin D and fresh salty air. Not all birds are happy and placid. They have issues too.  This debate was over fish ownership and the one who caught it did not get to eat it.  It was a thought provoking scene that I witnessed. Was this bird bullying?



It can be a cheap hobby and a good pair of binoculars are recommended, sometimes they are supplied or another birder will gladly let you look through their telescope.  Heinz has binoculars at the office to loan.


Photograph by Lauren Fiebert



People wanna shot something?  I say give them a camera and let them loose in nature.  It has a calming effect.


I am not a bird brain yet but I am getting there and I have learned seeing is better than tweeting.

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