Don's Jersey Birding: The Stories Birders Tell

Birding is all about the memories, tales, and stories we love to tell.
Photo courtesy of Mike Malzone

By Don Torino

Our lives are all about stories, the stories we recollect from the days when we could run full out day and night without rest to the years when things slowed down and our life’s sagas became more about old friends and family. These are the very same tales we love to recall when we are in big congregations and the stories we love to remember when we are sitting on the front porch alone. They are the stories we love to pass on to our children and our Grandchildren and the stories we use to remind all our old buddies about where we have been and what we have done. They are our stories, the ones we hold deep in our hearts and save in that very special place to bring out when we need a smile or to renew our souls. And so it goes the same for our birding stories.

Birds would not have as much meaning unless we got to share their stories.
Photo by Fred Nisenholz

Just as in life, birding is all about the stories too. Our stories are about the time when we saw our first Hummingbird buzz by your nose and felt the breeze from its wing on your cheek. They are stories that tell how you thought your heart was going to jump out of your chest when you watched your first Eagle soar overhead. They are the unforgettable tales about when a Barred Owl stared down at you from an old Pin Oak or when a Kettle of Broad-winged Hawks seemed to come out of nowhere just for you. They are the stories that never leave you, the tales that become part of you and make you who you are and remind you why you love to bird.

Our birding stories are about our first hummingbirds, our first Eagle and all about our love of birds.
Photo by Fred Nisenholz

Our Birding stories are not only about birds but they are also about the people that taught us how to love and appreciate our avian creatures of the skies. Our stories are about the how our fathers helped build our first birdhouses and our best birding buddy that has passed on and left us. The stories are about the first warm spring day when we brought our son or daughter on their first bird walk and the friend that showed us how to identify our first Savannah Sparrow.

Memorable birding stories are not only about successes but also about our wonderful disappointments. We love to brag about how by some boundless miracle or our great attained birding skills we saw that rare life bird that we added to our list but we also love to tell the tale about the time we traveled far from home only to miss that life bird by just a day. They are play a part of the stories we love to remember.

There are many more stories to be told, memories to be made and tales to tell.
Photo by Jeff Nicol

My friend Dave likes to talk about how he and his Grandmother would fill the bird feeders together. Diane loves to tell stories about the time a Chickadee landed on her head. Pam like to tell stories about chasing Painted Buntings all over Georgia and Denise likes to remember old friends like Linn Pierson that taught her all about Raptors. Birding is always about birds but it also about the memories, stories and recollections we have while we are chasing the birds we love so much.

Much like Native American cultures that carry on their heritage by storytelling, birders too pass on their love of birding by a storytelling tradition. The Raptors, Warblers, and Sparrows would not mean nearly as much unless we got to tell their story to our children, friends and everyone who cares to listen to our folktales about the birds.

The wonderful thing about birding is that there are many more stories to pass on, memories to be made and tales to tell, as long as we can get outside, walk a trail, sit on a bench or  look out a window our stories will always be there for us waiting to be told, so get outside experience the wonders of our natural world , there is nothing else like it  

Don Torino is the President of Bergen County Audubon Society.

Don's Previous Birding Exclusives:


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