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"How Old Were You When You Started Birding?"
Here are some of the interesting, enlightening and downright entertaining comments we received…
I found an injured female goldfinch when I was 7 on my way to school. I took her home, set her wing and we had her for three years. A male used to come down and sit beside her cage on the back porch. I looked up lots of info on birds to find out how to set the wing and care for her - no internet back then, just the library. All that info made me look at other birds.
I will always regret the lost years before I discovered birds.
I am now 70, I did not know that you could bird by sound until I was 45 years old. Even though I have been wearing hearing aids since I was 45 I truly enjoy listening to the birds as well as watching while I am working in my yard. I have also planted everthing I can to attract the birds to my yard. To date I have had 143 species. Not bad on a city lot less than 3/4 acre. What I do have is a small pond and a woods across the street.
My Brownie Leader took us birding for the first time. I was hooked immediately. That was nearly 60 years ago.
I was nine. That was 63 years ago.
With much thanks to Massachusetts Audubon's Al Bussewitz director of the Moose Hill Sanctuary, who came to local schools and took us out on Natural History excursions.
I was born 02/21/1930. My grandmother got me started.
Went on a spring bird count walk in the Cleveland Metroparks with expert birder Don Altemus and was hooked forever!
When I started to be interested in birds I did not have a book so my list was very simple. A goose, a duck, a blackbird, etc. It wasn't unill26 and some friends took my husband and me birding. That was near Tillamook, OR. There I was astonished to find that there were many kinds of ducks, etc. It has been a very rewarding hobby. I was excited to see my first Elegant Trogon in AZ this February.
In 7th grade science we did a bird walk around the school area and found a nest of newly hatched killdeer. Next morning they mowed that field and at lunch we found chopped up baby killdeer. Made an impact.
My aunt desperately tried to get me interested in birds as a child; however, really watching and photographing came after I retired.
I was raised on a farm in middle Tennessee. My dad taught me the local names for the birds. When I tried to look those names up in my first Peterson guide - they weren't there. Of course, we all know that even some of the names in that guide are not the same today.
Since moving to Houston TX I was looking for an environmental interest since there are no mountains to climb and few trails to hike. When I found out that one can see so many migrating birds on the Gulf Coast, I decided to get more interested in birding.
Boy Scouts, Bird watching Merit Badge, 1951
Biology class in highschool got me started.
I attended a one room rural school and my teacher in Grades 6-8 influenced me. Because of her, I paid more attention to what I saw from the tractor seat on the farm. Today, over 50 years later, I am celebrating my 46th year writing a nature column in the local paper, teach Bird Identification courses, and have my own website at www.naturestuff.net, and all because of a school teacher who delighted her pupils with stories of birds coming to her hand.
I was always interested in wildlife, mainly birds but never really followed through on learning more about them. Then one day I was sitting on my porch and saw a ruby throated hummingbird for the first time up close, and that changed everything!
I started serious birding with my high school biology teacher. We're still birding buddies after over forty years!
Nature has always been a part of my life since I was a boy. I spent hours just walking MY CRICK at the bottom of the street & just enjoying the woods. My friends and I would also love to catch crawfish in the crick for fun and just let them go after we caught them. I can still remember to this day not to catch the big ones since you could tell by the way their shells looked that they were yucky to pick up since the thought of typing it now gives me the willies!!!!
I was an odd child.
Not sure if it was age 10, 11 or 12. Been birding most years since, mostly US and Canada. Life list over 600.
When I was really young we used to watch the swallows flying into and out of the large chimney of the Catholic school across the street. We used to sit out on our 2nd story porch to view them.
I was 9 or possibly younger (I remember the first great blue herons blown in by hurricane in mid-50s...) - I asked for and received a bird bath and first Peterson's guide for my 10th birthday.
I remember drawing "hoot owls" and other birds by age 3 on my daddy's receipt pads from his hardware business.
I started "for real birding" instead of just enjoying when I started teaching in the middle school. I developed a year long survey of backyard birds modeled after the GBBC. I had to learn to teach.
I loved birds all of my life (I am 60 now), but I did not start watching them until I put a bird feeder in my back yard.
I MOVED TO A NEW CITY 450 MILES WEST OF WHERE I HAD SPENT MY WHOLE LIFE UP TO THAT POINT. I HAD NEVER PAID MUCH ATTENTION TO BIRDS, BUT IN THE NEW CITY I NOTICED A FEW BIRDS THAT I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE. THAT STARTED EVERYTHING - AND AS OF NOW IT HAS BEEN 27 YEARS OF BIRDING.
Started during university but had a long break while kids were young - started again 51 - 55
I wish I had started earlier. I did have someone in my childhood that enjoyed birding and shared with us children. It was encouraging to me when I did start to bird.
Started as a casual birder, then progressed in my 40's to feeders and birdboxes at our home. Retired at 56 and am now traveling in a motorhome around the country for almost 3 years. Am REALLY into birding now and working on my "life list".