A marketing worker-bee by day, a dancer/weaver/botanist at 5 pm – that’s how I would have described myself a few months ago. I think I’ve been bitten by the birding bug, though, so I might have to revise this description.
It’s hard to avoid being at least a casual birder at the Folk School – the birds are literally everywhere! I was dancing in Open House yesterday and saw a Pileated Woodpecker in the woods towards Keith House. On my way home on Tuesday, I saw 11 Wild Turkeys on the side of the road just beyond the Folk School campground. The Eastern Bluebirds are always perched near Tower House, and the Red-winged Blackbirds are calling their distinct call from the wet areas near the Rivercane Trail. I’m expecting the Whip-poor-wils to start calling in the evenings very soon, and the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that visit the Keith House will be arriving shortly.
These are all birds I’ve seen before I got really “into” this whole birding thing. At some point, I decided to start keeping track of what I’ve seen – right after I made a birding checklist for the Folk School as part of my job (since we’re on the NC Birding Trail). So, yesterday was a very exciting day, because I spotted some “new-to-me” birds. I walk a lot by the Little Brasstown Creek and saw a Belted Kingfisher, swooping over the water, and under the brush near the trail, I saw an Eastern Towhee. (That one took a while to identify.) Two new checks on the list, both in one day!
I’m taking the Birds of Southern Appalachia next month (with my mom, who will be visiting from Michigan), and I’m really excited. For two reasons, really. In my personal quest to learn more about nature, I feel that I am just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to birds. Even more importantly, I get to spend quality time with my mom as we both learn something that’s new and exciting to both of us. A good birder friend of mine said that she couldn’t imagine life before birding by ear, and I think I’m beginning to understand what she meant.