I recently wrote – or perhaps you could say vented – about our recent forays into birding. With an additional morning under my belt, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect. Perhaps birds aren’t so bad after all.
- Birding is cool.
By cool, I mean cold. Birding is still definitely not trendy cool, but right now I’d happily embrace an icepack wearing socks and sandals. Kluane is melting under a heat wave, and in the full blast of the sun we are getting baked from the lakeside to the alpine. The bird surveys, and the early mornings that come with them, are a welcome relief.
- Birding is peaceful
Our surveys last 30 minutes at each site. Here in my field assistant role, my responsibility is simply to record any new bird calls we hear. As Matt’s identification skills improve, there is less and less for me to do, and more and more time for me to do what I like best – perfecting the art of the tundra nap. It is incredibly peaceful drifting off to sleep to the rustle of the willows, the distant wash of waves on the lake shore, the buzz of pollinators, the soft tweet of an unknown bird call….oh wait! Damn, where is that recorder!!
- Birding is exciting
There is a certain thrill to coming across a new species, or getting that perfect photo you’ve been waiting all morning for. Sometimes the surprises are small – a colourful bird settling in the shrub above your head. But as Cameron found with the hummingbird on Qikiqtaruk, you never know what you may see!
- Birding is interesting
For all their skittishness, and the whole moving around thing, things that aren’t plants can sometimes be interesting. Even though I’ve walked up and down the Plateau many times now, seeing the drop off in bird diversity with temperature – in the data and with my own eyes and ears – is neat, and a nice little test of theory.
- Birding is beautiful
Once again, no explanation needed.