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Birdwatching Connects Us With Nature

Blog #2--finally! I was traveling, am home now, and am raring to go. I'd like to start things off by sharing with you two statements that really got my attention. The first was made by famous biologist and conservationist Thomas Lovejoy: "If you take care of the birds, you take care of most of the big problems of the world." Intriguing statement. The second was made by novelist Jonathan Franzen in his recent National Geographic article entitled "Why Birds Matter and Are Worth Protecting": "They [referring to birds] are our last, best connection to a natural world that is otherwise receding." 

What Mr. Franzen says here provides yet another reason to go birdwatching, and is supportive of the idea I put forth earlier that birding is a great hobby. When we're outdoors birdwatching we are forging a connection with the natural world around us, a connection that too few of us have. This makes me think of something I read just today that proves that point. Twenty five percent of Americans spend all day inside.  One can't connect with nature in any substantive way indoors.

Let me share with you a few photos I took recently. Maybe these will motivate you to get out there and see what's around. One of the magical things about spending time outdoors is this: you never know what you might find. Several weeks ago, I was photographing Ospreys and other birds along the Southern Branch near Inland Rd. in Chesapeake. I'm monitoring the Channel Marker #38 Osprey nest there. All of a sudden I spotted what I at first thought was a pack of dogs along the shore. It turns out it was a small group of white-tailed deer. The tide was falling and they were right on the mudflat.

Several days later, while driving home on Bainbridge Blvd. in Chesapeake and over Mains Creek, just opposite the better known Deep Creek, I spotted something in the water. I thought it was a late wintering duck--a Bufflehead perhaps. I stopped my truck, turned around, returned to the rather desolate spot where I'd seen the animal and parked. I got out the binocs and the camera, and discovered to my surprise that it was an actively feeding river otter!