But I also thought of so many moments in my birding experiences, especially during travel, that remind me of similar feelings. One of my most memorable birding trips included standing near the Platte River in Nebraska on a chilly March evening. I was with my husband Bob and my close friends as we watched thousands of Sandhill Cranes all around us, on water, land, and in the air, their sounds enveloping us to our cores, and a brilliant evening sky behind the thousands of silhouetted birds in the air. I felt that we could all melt into the ground, so overwhelmed we were with the sights and sounds of this astounding spectacle. At that moment, we were profoundly connected to each other and to the birds, completely stripped of any thoughts about ourselves or our problems, and were filled with awe, wonderment, excitement, optimism, and connection, nearly touching the divine. Birding trips are not just about the birds; they are just as much, if not more, about the people and surroundings. Seeing a target bird on a trip can easily be dampened by a member of the group out of step with others in the group. By contrast, the same target bird experienced by everyone anxious to share and help each other see the bird, each pulling for the other, can produce levels of connection, humility, and teamwork similar to achieving the swing. Because of my difficulty in spotting birds due to vision and hearing loss, I have had countless times when every member of our group wanted badly for me to see a bird, each one falling over himself to make sure I had the opportunity to see the bird. When I exclaimed certain words (not to be repeated here), the group chuckled and reveled in my excitement, knowing that I had not only seen the bird, but I had seen it well. We had achieved our swing! Pileated Woodpeckers. Photograph by Sandy Selesky. It does not take a group of people to experience the swing. It may only be two people. I think of a moment when Bob and I were casually scanning a small lake in northeastern Vermont for water birds when we both heard and exclaimed, in perfect unison syllable by syllable, “Pileated!” We both marveled at the joint response, made even more meaningful by the fact that I was only just learning to identify bird vocalizations after my first cochlear implant. That was a moment of pure swing, pure togetherness, profound sharing, and elation, all centered around a common bird of the northern forests. But sometimes a group can achieve its swing simply by being together, each member immersed in the group feeling of elation and excitement. Think of the times that many of you have sat around a table in the lodging where you are staying on a birding trip, perhaps enjoying a cocktail hour after a satisfying and spectacular day of birding or mammal sightings. You are doing the daily checklist, sharing again the exciting moments of the day, thoroughly enjoying the company of your friends. To me, that is another level of achieving a swing: being in harmony, focusing on the moment, being generous in spirit, pulling and caring for everyone in the group, and being grateful for one another’s friendships. So, yes, birders can achieve the swing too. We can be so immersed with the bird, feeling such an emotional connection threaded between and among the bird and the people we are with, that at that moment, we achieve our swing. The shared elation, sheer awe, acts of kindness, and teamwork to help all to see the bird elevates us to a new level of inspiration and appreciation for birding and all that it adds to our lives. So, the next time you see a crew rowing their boat through the water, think about their swing and then about your own swing moments. These are the moments or times that we treasure and are unlikely to ever forget. Time to go birding and find our next swing. Martha Steele , a former editor of Bird Observer, has been progressively losing vision due to retinitis pigmentosa and is legally blind. Thanks to a cochlear implant, she is now learning to identify birds from their songs and calls. Martha lives with her husband, Bob Stymeist, in Arlington. Martha can be reached at email@example.com .