Birds and Bird Watching in My Own Life
Woodstock is my favorite bird of all time. He (she?) is just adorable. I remember when he (I’ve always thought of Woodstock as “he”) came on the scene. Cute as a button from the first minute. He’s aged well, too.
Today I’m sharing a few great bird books–real birds that is, not cartoons (Sorry, Woodstock). Birds and bird watching fascinate me. I’ve joined the local Audubon Society, but their bird watching trips are always at times I can’t go. Hopefully soon though.
Bird watching was best portrayed in the classic Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. This film was an outstanding venue for Jimmy Stewart’s physical comedy skills and for John McGiver’s dead-pan seriousness!
But, some people have been known to really make a life of it. Take, for instance, famed artist John James Audubon–he watched and painted as most of the then-known bird species in this country.
Birds in Art
The beautiful book Audubon’s Aviary is a fabulously beautiful book of watercolors. It’s near the top of my Wish List on Amazon. I love Audubon’s work–even if, of necessity, he killed birds to be able to paint them. We must remember that before cameras this was the only way to freeze an image to work from for his paintings. Few countries have such an amazing National Treasure of national wildlife art as the USA. This book is a wonderful celebration of that treasure. If you enjoy his work as much as I do, perhaps you’d enjoy de-stressing with an Audubon Coloring Book. Way, way before the current Adult Coloring Book fad, Dover was quietly churning out excellent coloring books used by artists and hobbyists alike for accurate representations of things as varied as Audubon’s birds to Civil War Uniforms. Audubon’s Birds of America Coloring Book.
A Birder Above All Others
Obsessions beset people for who knows what reason. One woman developed such an extreme obsession with bird watching her story has been told in a fascinating book I read a few years ago. Phoebe Snetsinge was a typical housewife of the sort we discussed in my recent Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn posts, until she got started bird watching. Birders, as bird watchers are known, keep what they call a life list of all the species they’ve seen. For most, this is a hobby, for some a reason to plan a vacation in a certain spot, but that’s about it. Phoebe ramped it up about 100 notches. She withdrew into a life of birding almost to the exclusion of all else. Think Horders, but in birding terms, and you have Phoebe. This was an extremely readable book. I had no idea how competitive the top level of birders could be! Those sort are about as rare as some of the species they go all-out to see. Life List: One Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds.
A Family Read-Aloud
Years ago, my Mom discovered this sweet little book about a family adopted by a Quail. Yes, the bird adopted the people. It’s a wonderful story in the ways bird and other pets improve our lives. Robert was quite a character! She (yes, She!) was a real presence in the family. This is a delightful story, appropriate as a family read-aloud. Happily, when I re-read it a while back, it was still as charming as I remembered. That Quail, Robert.
Family Fun Is For The Birds
One fun activity my kids and I did for several years was to make Bagel Bird Feeders and hang them in our trees. Our cats in those years did not go outside, so the birds were free to enjoy our yard. The cats we have today go out, but, strangely, have never bothered the robins who some years nest in one of our trees.
We also enjoyed this magazine, Birds and Blooms. It is very family-friendly and features gorgeous photographs.
A Mama Bird and Her Chicks in the Nest
Finally, with Mother’s Day in the near future, what about a personalized nest necklace for the bird-loving Mom to wear, showing her pride in her chicks? There are all sorts of these necklaces around on Etsy, but I especially liked this personalized one.
Are you a birder? Do you enjoy watching the birds at your backyard bird feeders? Leave me a comment with your favorite resources–anything bird related.