I’ve been asked why I’m so into birds over and over. To quote Marge Simpson, “I just think they’re neat!”
And that’s largely true. Birds are neat!
If you agree, you’re definitely at the right website. If you don’t agree, you’re also in the right place! I hope I can convince you how great birds are, or at least how interesting they are. Anyway, this post is about me and my personal experience with birds.
At its most basic level, I would say the reasons I enjoy birdwatching are these:
The last one is a big one for me. Way too often in our history, humanity has done terrible things for birds. Just look back at the Carolina Parakeet or the Dodo bird. They’re gone now. We will never get to meet those birds because humans destroyed them. We even almost lost the Bald Eagle.
But look at what birds do for us. Many birds eat insects and help control pests that destroy our crops. Many birds provide food for us directly, as meat themselves or as egg layers. Many birds make excellent companions as pets. Many birds are beautiful, colorful, and just pleasing to look at. And many birds are just fun to watch.
Just a fair warning: I’m about to get religious here. If you are not, that’s fine. Everyone is welcome here. This is a website about birds, not about religion. This is will likely be the only time I bring it up. Please don’t misunderstand and think I’m apologizing for my beliefs. I am not. I just don’t want you to get the wrong idea about this website and what it’s for. This particular post is about my personal interest in birds and the Bible happens to play a huge part.
Let me show you a few verses in the book of Matthew:
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather crops into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more important than they? And which of you by worrying can add a single day to his life’s span?”
Matthew Chapter 6, Verses 25-27
In this passage, Jesus specifically singles out birds as his proof that God loves and cares for people. Jesus tells us not to worry because, well, look at the birds. Birds don’t worry. Sure, birds have problems like finding food, shelter, water, a mate, and some deal with predators, but I don’t think birds have anxieties. And just look at our backyards. God gave them people who install birdfeeders!
Jesus implies here that God loves the birds and yet he loves us more.
Or just look at all the times the Bible uses doves as symbols for peace or even the Holy Spirit.
Maybe other religious texts also use birds. I haven’t read the Quran, but if it does contain references to birds, I’d love to hear about it.
Okay, no more religious talk.
All of this is to say that I’m convinced birds are extremely special animals. Birds are important not just to our ecosystems but also to our psyche. I mean, does your state have a state mammal? All fifty states have a state bird.
You can even just look at the past to how people have viewed birds. The ancient Romans used eagles as their symbol, the raven has always been symbolic in literature, ancient Egyptians had bird gods, and humanity long looked to the bird and wondered what it might be like to fly like a bird. To this day, birds still fascinate people. They play an important role in not only our livelihood, but are integrated just about universally into human culture.
I could go on.
On a more personal note, I take great joy out of watching birds come to feed in my back yard. Probably the most fun for me is seeing new visitors and cataloging them. I love trying to get know individual birds and their personality quirks. And I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped the little guys out by giving them a meal.
Why do you love birds? What is it about them that’s fascinating to you? Drop me a note!