Connect with Nature and Reap the Benefits of Birding
With the Coronavirus pandemic forcing people all over the globe to stay at home, many individuals have turned to hobbies, both new and old, as a way to pass the time. One hobby that has become particularly popular is birding.
Since the beginning of the quarantine period, activities surrounding birding have shown a marked uptick. Bird seed sales are up for many companies, a great deal of birding apps have reported increased downloads, and some live bird watching cameras have even shown increased visits. Most recent studies from the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that over 20%1 of the US population participates in birding activities - and in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, that number is likely much higher. It seems that in staying home and away from others, many people have found a connection and fascination with birds. But this interest is nothing new.
Long before the word ‘quarantine’ was ever a part of daily conversation, people all around the world were fascinated by birds. For centuries, birders have spent hours watching and listening for these winged creatures at backyard feeders, nature trails, parks, beaches and just about anywhere else that birds can be found.
A whole community of individuals with a shared passion for birds has long been established, but what makes this species so special that a whole community would be built around them? Why not watch squirrels or rabbits, or any of the other creatures you may see roaming through your backyard?
- Birds come in an abundance of striking varieties. While there are varieties within all animal species, birds of all colors, shapes and sizes frequent the same spaces in a way that is not seen among other animals. Not only that, but the variation among birds is like no other animal species. You may see a squirrel that is a slightly different color or size from other squirrels, but it is nothing like the diverse characteristics found among birds.
A look at these three bird species, the Anna’s Hummingbird, Painted Bunting, and Pileated Woodpecker, and it becomes clear just how diverse the bird world really is.
- Birds have unique songs. Unlike many other animals, birds can announce themselves by songs and calls. If other animals were to announce themselves in this way, they would likely be tracked down by predators; but given that birds can fly, they are usually able to tweet and chatter without the fear of a predator attack. The songs and calls of each bird species add another element to birding that makes the experience even more fun.
- Birds are everywhere. There is a reason birding is an activity enjoyed around the world and it’s because birds can be found just about anywhere. From the common backyard visitors, to those unique to tropical locations, there is no shortage of bird species to find. No matter where you are: in the city, at the beach, or simply by a window, you are likely to see or hear a bird nearby.
- Once you start, it’s hard to stop. Consider this your warning, once you get started on birding, it can become hard to stop! Just like someone who collects coins or baseball cards, birders keep track of birds they have seen. And, just like the collectors, they want to see them all. This makes every new bird an exciting and rewarding sight.
- Birding is a skill. For many birders, the fun of birding lies not only in trying to see as many birds as possible, but also in practicing and perfecting identification skills. Improving your identification skills and learning to identify new birds is one of the most rewarding elements of birding.
- It’s a community. Birding and bird watching has been around for a long time, making the community a well-established bunch. And while some may be satisfied with the individual benefits of birding, the opportunity for social connections through the activity make it even more attractive for others. If you are looking for a way to get connected with other birders, join the Lyric Bird Facebook Page, where birders gather.
Reading about birds can only do so much to explain how special these creatures really are. Experience first hand the joys of birding by setting up a feeder in your own backyard. And to attract the most beautiful birds to your new feeder, make sure you fill it with Lyric Supreme Wild Bird Mix, a great option for birders old and new.
By Darby Seymour, Marketing Intern
1 2016 US Fish and Wildlife Survey