So my husband and I love to go birdwatching. In fact our first date was going birdwatching at a nature preserve. Back then we were both just learning, in fact, it took us about 20 minutes to identify an American Coot (granted we never saw its feet - that would have been a huge give away). Thankfully we're a bit more skillful now. We're not experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we can identify most of the birds we see if they hang around long enough! The length of time depends on the features of the bird. It also helps to have a digital camera. We bought one with the money we were given for our college graduation (we graduated the same semester). It has a 12x optical zoom, which helps us when the birds are farther away. In fact, this bird:
we were able to identify because of this picture. We zoomed in and saw the yellow eye and by that were able to find out it was a Brown Thrasher. It also helped to have a still image because this bird spent most of its time hidden in the bush.
When we go to the zoo, we ALWAYS go to the Aviaries. They are so fun. We love being able to look for birds and see what exotic birds that the zoo has. We thought it would be fun to have our own little bird room in our house. Until we learned about the Migratory Bird Act. We could still do it, but the birds we wanted to have in it, we really can't. Ah well, such is life. We'll just have to go to the zoo more often. We'll appreciate it more!
So our last trip to the zoo, we saw some great birds in their tropical aviary. Here are a few of the birds we were able to get shots of.We took our 4 month old with us, and he had a great time. Here he is as a penguin...
He actually did very well, but ended up falling asleep in the aviary (which was our last stop). Here he is after the aviary:
Isn't he just adorable? He has a 2 foot wing span - just so you know...
So one of the reasons I like birding is because it helps me to see that there really is so much diversity in the world and even in one type of animal. I also like it because it is like solving a mystery each time we go. We scope out clues, body shape, beak shape, habitat, behavior, movement, songs, coloration, etc and use those clues to help identify what the bird is.
So next time you see a bird, look just a little bit longer at it just for me. ;0)
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