It’s Paige. I’m an avid birdwatcher, if you can’t tell by my domain name, and what I really enjoy is listening to bird calls and identifying birds by their songs. I often record the birdsongs I hear. So my domain name is perfect.
I’ve listened to bird songs since I was small. I was a normal kid with friends and activities and typical kid pursuits, but I also was really into birding. I’d walk to school and home from school and be very aware of the birds that were singing. I was aware that there were different bird songs, obviously produced by different birds, and I was drawn to find out more about both.
My parents gave me bird identification books for Christmas and birthdays, and I’d take them everywhere, looking up every bird I saw.
Eventually I also found databases with recordings of birdsongs and I’d go do searches for birds that I knew were in the area. I’d listen to the recordings of their calls and then listen for the live songs and try to compare them and identify them.
I actually got pretty good at it.
My friends tolerated my interest. We’d be walking home from school and I’d stop and listen to a call. My friends would stand there and wait patiently, texting someone or whatever on their phones while I was analyzing the bird calls.
One or two developed a bit of an interest themselves, but none of them were quite so obsessed as I became.
My parents followed my interest with amusement and a bit of surprise, I think. They kept feeding me reference stuff, sending links to interesting things they found online, etc.
One summer they surprised me with a week’s trip to a bird enthusiast’s camp. It was for older kids, but I guess an exception was made so that I could go too.
The camp was in another state, so it was a pretty big deal for me. My mom drove me. The location of the camp was sort of a retreat area in the mountains. There were log cabins and a big lodge-type of building for the meetings.
We had mini lectures every day, but most of our time at the camp was in the field, accompanied by a knowledgeable birder. We spent hours out in the forest, sitting and listening, or walking around with our cameras and sketch pads and mini recording devices.
That camp was fun because the birds in that area were different from the birds at home. I heard so many calls that were new to me. I had trouble recognizing any of them at first. There were a few distinct calls, but most initially all sounded the same! It was a bit of a wake-up call. I had gotten so used to the bird calls back home and I think I was lulled into thinking that there wasn’t much else for me to learn about birds.
Being at that camp reminded me how much I didn’t know.
Anyway, this blog is about birding and birdwatching. However, you’ll also notice that I stray often from the topic and just write about whatever is currently on my mind.