Thursday, April 3, 2008

Here I am!

Welcome to Bluebird of Friendliness, a place to read about and live second-hand my exploits as a novice birder. I use the term "novice" in the same way it refers to new nuns; I have decided to devote my sincerest attentions to my birdlove. Whether I'll go so far as to become an ornithologist, who knows? But I certainly foresee a deep and meaningful relationship blooming between something in my soul and the act of taking time to appreciate birds.

A little about me: I'm twenty-four years old, married almost four years to my best friend and love. We live in Brooklyn, NY, and frequently visit our homeland of distant, exotic Rhode Island to see our loved ones. I work as a nanny here in Brooklyn. I love nothing more than finding and creating adventure, and birdwatching is my newest addition to a growing list of eclectic hobbies - most notably, letterboxing. I have found that the two (birdwatching and letterboxing) are impossible to combine, so I've got to make time for both. I have a degree in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College in Boston. I focused my studies there on children's literature and continue to explore the genre as part of my pleasure reading.

A little about my birding origins: When pressed, I cannot pinpoint an exact moment when I suddenly loved birds more than I did in the previous moment. When relaxed, I often remember fondly the first time I saw the bright wing patches of a red-winged blackbird in flight at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston when I was in college.

I have always been interested in animals and the natural world, having been the kind of child to check out books on bees or weather patterns from the library, but I can't think of a factor, a moment, or an event that turned me, irrevocably, into a birdwatcher. As I look back on the stamps we collected while letterboxing in 2007, I find myself saying, "I remember I noticed birds that day," more frequently. I think the change happened sometime in late June or early July, because I remember deciding that I wanted a pair of binoculars for my birthday in September. So I did receive a pair of Eddie Bauer 10x25s from my loving and wonderful mother-in-law, which I used faithfully until my tax rebate arrived this weekend. I just upgraded (thank heavens) to a pair of 8x42s from Minox. I feel like I am birding with new eyes. While my starter pair were light and portable, the Minox are bright and clear. I am looking forward to better birdwatching!

I'm slowly building a library of bird-related materials. The guide I carry is The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America, but I also consult the National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America. I actively seek out new bird knowledge in the form of books available through the public library. I carry a small notebook for species lists and observations, and later write entries on each new bird in the National Geographic Birder's Journal my husband gave me for Christmas. I'm also enjoying Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song, and Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City.

I do most of my birding in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, but I've always got eyes to the skies, whether walking from home to the train or from work to pick up the kids at school. I also try to get out to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge at least once a month.

My biggest downfall as a birdwatcher? I don't get up early. My job only starts at 1:00 p.m., so I sleep as late as I want.

My biggest asset as a watcher of birds? I would say my openness. I want to learn, to see, to have my breath taken away by God's green earth and all its weird and wonderful beauties.

So, again, welcome! And I hope this record proves an interesting exercise for us both.


Katherine said...

Wow, Leah, I'm amazed and excited about this blog. Now I can keep up with all of your adventures about birdwatching! This is really very cool!

AKA Bird Nerd said...

Gee, the gift for writing is obvious. I'm jealous. I'm just a lowly elementary computer teacher who is over the hill and not far off from retirement.

Welcome to the blogging world. I just started mine a couple months ago, but have been doing a bird web site for longer.

I officially became a birder on July 13, 2006. I, like you, have always had the inclination. I was a member of the Junior Audubon Society as a kid and collected lizards and snakes in California.

My wife and I have taught all over the world (about 20 years) and I am regretful that I was not a birder during those years. I still noticed them, but never REALLY noticed, and of course kept no records.

I'm not all that satisfied with people and society, so I've focused on something that lifts me up - nature. It's sort of the back to the basic thing, and I find that I can actually find some redeeming qualities in humans that also focus on nature - especially birders. We're a weird lot!

I just wrote a little story about the cutest little peep you've ever seen. My writing is terrible. I break all the rules in the book - 1st/3rd person, you name it. I try to compliment my poor writing skills with my new photography hobby (that does tie in with the birding hobby).

You can view it at

I am very encouraged with kids like you and Bird Girl. (I know you don't consider yourself a kid, but my two are over 30, so you get where I'm coming from.) I read Adventures of Bird Girl regularly, and I'll add your budding blog to my list as well.

Good luck with your blog.

marzilla said...

I love to watch birds...bluebirds mostly. You can visit my site by following my URL:

Ben C. said...

Glad to see the younger generation is joining in on birding!

Here's a book I highly recommend in case you haven't picked it up yet: