Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

February 2015

Vol. 43, No. 1

Musings from the Blind Birder: Birding, a Way of Life

Martha Steele

Birding is not just a hobby, it is also a way of life. It often dictates our days depending on the season, the weather patterns, the presence of unusual birds, or the calendar of annual bird censuses. It also bonds us to one another and engenders an instant social network across the globe, never mind locally. When we arrive at a local place to bird, we often find other birders whom we know. Our search for birds is interspersed with catching up with one another. Even if we are disappointed in missing a bird, we can always take solace in reconnecting with fellow birders.

When I think of how birding has influenced my life, I can start with my husband, Bob Stymeist, whom I met through our mutual passion for birds. Casual encounters in the field, serving as staff volunteers for Bird Observer, and being part of larger groups on birding trips to Latin America all served as easy and relaxed circumstances to get to know each other better over time. Going birding together spawned many wonderful moments, such as finding Bohemian Waxwings in Wellfleet on a November day, or during a furious and frigid January weekend in western Massachusetts, adding 10 communities to Bob’s quest to record a Carolina Wren in all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns.

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