My interest in bird watching is now becoming a hobby. I even have binoculars (old ones that my husband uses for football games, but still . . . they work!) and I’m keeping a list of all of the birds I can identify around my neighborhood. There’s even a great horned owl who hoots for a girlfriend in the redwood trees in our backyard.

My children double over with laughter over this, assuming that anyone who is a bird watcher is about ready for Shady Acres Retirement Home.

Oh . . . so wrong!

The thing is . . . we’re so accustomed to birds around us that we don’t really see them. Or hear them. But once you start paying attention–really noticing them, identifying their species, recognizing their songs . . . bird watching takes on a new dimension.

Birds tend to be bellwethers of the health of an ecosystem, too. Yesterday’s paper had a worry about the decline in one migratory bird’s population . . . and that really is a worry. Something is causing a change . . . something that could lead up the food chain to humans.

There is a glorious tree out in front of my house–a Chinese pistache–in all of its autumnal splendor, filled with berries right now. The other morning I just stopped what I was doing and sat down with my binoculars to watch the tree. I counted more than ten types of birds! (The tree was filled with dozens and dozens of birds.) From Acorn woodpeckers, American goldfinches, crowned sparrows, red finches, even a western Bluebird. Plenty of berries for all of them to eat in peace . . . until the bossy stellar jays show up and everyone scatters like buckshot.

Then, as I listened, I actually heard the music birds make–nature’s symphony! So many sounds, so many notes. Sounds I hear everyday but rarely stop and listen to.

Today, notice a bird in your yard and watch it for a few minutes. Bet you’ll get hooked.swf-naturesymphony

[Tweet “Take time today to notice nature’s glorious symphony around you! @suzannewfisher”]

Congratulations to MICHELLE MORRISON, the winner of last Tuesday’s Give Me the Simple Life giveaway! Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.


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