Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

April 2016

Vol. 44, No. 2

Musings from the Blind Birder: The Paradise of Memories

Martha Steele


Eastern Meadowlark. Photograph © Shawn P. Carey.

Bob, Alvin (my new guide dog), and I recently visited our friends Jan and Helen in Arizona. The trip was primarily to catch up with old friends and do some sightseeing in the Phoenix area. We did do some birding, however, including attending a four-day birding festival, Wings Over Willcox, that celebrates the wintering Sandhill Cranes in southeastern Arizona.

Jan and Helen are not hard-core birders, but they are interested in birds and are avid outdoorswomen. Helen in particular knows her local birds, and both clearly enjoyed the casual pace of birding we did with them. We birded areas near their home, including the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, as well as several locations in the Willcox area. For me, birding with them revealed an interplay between my memory of birds that I can no longer see and Jan or Helen’s descriptions of what they were looking at, such that I could attempt to identify the bird in the resulting connections.

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