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What's in it for me?

Winging it

Animated_singing_bird_2 If you've ever perused my list entitled "Fun beyond taxes, truly!" about midway down the blog's left column, you've noticed a lot of avian references. That's because the hubby and I have been birders our entire married life.

Maybe it was the change of terrain that sparked it. We started our marital life in the Washington, D.C., area and bought our first home in suburban Maryland. Coming from the desert scrub of West Texas and the farmland of the state's High Plains, we reveled in the region's abundance of trees, shrubs and water sources.

One evening, out walking in our new neighborhood, we noticed a group of iridescent, polka-dotted black birds. We were intrigued, but that being pre-Internet days, we weren't able to immediately satisfy our curiosity.

The next day, however, the hubby showed up with our first Peterson Field Guide, where we were introduced to the European Starling.

Now despite the rather romantic reason behind its arrival in the United States, this is not the most-loved bird. In fact, it's detested by many for its intrusion into and disruption of native species' habitats. However, since the starling made us birders, I must admit a bit of a soft spot for it, even though that bird has cost us a lot of cash.

Since that initial sighting, we've planned almost every trip, weekend or longer, as a birding vacation. To make them worthwhile, we've invested in myriad expensive optics. And more money than I care to think about has been devoted over the years to buying bird art and making donations (tax-deductible!) to ornithological and other wildlife groups. But all in all, I must count it as money well-spent.

So given that the national capital/MidAtlantic region was the birthplace of our birding passion, I am doubly pleased to tell you that this week birdDC hosts the 23rd edition of I and the Bird and that he has chosen my post on our springtime birds to be a part of the collection.

In addition to a very creative presentation, birdDC offers blogger observations from across the United States and the world on warblers, raptors, waders and much more. Take some time to visit all these sites. You'll begin to get an idea of why birds entrance so many of us.

And don't limit yourself to cyber birding.

Open a window or actually step outside. Soon you'll see or hear a bird. It might be a starling or perhaps a more colorful song bird. It doesn't matter. The minute you do, I suspect you'll also discover something we've known all these years: You can't look at or listen to a bird without smiling.

Just consider the time spent enjoying the birds and world around you as an investment in your personal bank of well-being.

Bird art courtesy of Café Mocha images.


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