I’m Not a Bird Watcher, or Am I?

Birds Experiences in the Past

My relationship with birds is not based on a great personal history. Growing up, I was afraid of the winged, flying creatures. I saw a red headed school girl about my age in the aviary at the Seneca Park Zoo in the late sixties be dive-bombed for strands of her fluorescent locks! Yikes! In addition, my own thick dark, almost black, hair attracted barn swallows in very much the same manner when I was a teen on our riding lawn mower. I left the mower running while in park more than once while I made an escape screaming across the yard!

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

During the same years, as a young teen, I was pooped on by seagulls while lying on the beach during Easter vacation in South Carolina. Someone else was feeding the birds and I got the stuff as it came out the other end…..right on my chest and in my hair. Then, there was the time I was watering a hanging plant on the front porch of the first home my husband and I owned and knocked down the basket, spilling a bunch of baby robins from their next onto the sidewalk. This devastated me! It seemed that birds and I were not meant to be friends.

I learned, through these past experiences, to keep my distance from birds and rarely admired them. That was the case until lately, anyway. Friday morning, I glanced out my window and saw chickadees playing together, flying in and out of the Norway spruce and into the bare limbed apple trees of our side yard. A male cardinal joined them only for a brief period; I assume because they were being very rowdy! Yesterday, sitting in the same spot at my desk, I noted a large bird, a Red-tailed Hawk, sitting in the tree in the dry creek bed that lines our property to the north. The large tree serves as a great perch for dinner decisions.

Red tailed Hawk in Wisconsin © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

Learning to like Birds

As I’ve aged and came to understand animals more, birds have gained their popularity with me. I like the many songbirds that visit our yard. Cardinals, orioles, blue birds, blue jays, chickadees, goldfinches, robins, red-winged black birds, and wood peckers all visit our yard. I enjoy seeing them and hearing their songs. Occasionally, at night, I can hear the barn owls too. At our cabin, we are blessed to hear the loons call at dusk and again at dawn. They have become one of my favorite birds.

Cardinal peeking in our window. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2018

And, then there are the bald eagles that can be regularly seen in our area near the Mississippi River. The same tree that served as a perch for the Red Tailed Hawk also served as an outlook for a Bald Eagle a few weeks ago.

© Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

Birds are Awesome

I’m not sure if it is that I’ve noticed more about birds since I’ve aged because I’ve learned more about our natural world and the need for biodiversity or that I’m just less scared of them, but I have come to appreciate birds.

In any case, birds make for some awesome excuses to use my camera and pause during my day! I guess I am a bird watcher, after all!

Today is day 2/31 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks go to TwoWritingTeachers.org for organizing and hosting this challenge.

28 thoughts

  1. What a journey you have had with birds! Bald eagles are so cool. Thank you for including the picture.
    Being pooped on by any bird stays with you. Ugh.
    Happy day 2 to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW! I love that you have so many birds in your yard. Mine is the same way. The other day after a big snow, I counted 12 red cardinals (12!!!) in the pine tree outside my living room window. They were waiting for their turn at the feeder. (I have also had the experience of being on the receiving end of some bird poop myself — twice!) Happy slicing!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fun fact: “Slicing” is the verb for the expulsion of excrement from large birds. I’m not making this up. Because of that fact, Jen, the last two sentences in your comment appeal greatly to my third grade mind–thanks!


  3. I really enjoyed reading your blog; I feel the exact same way about birds. I am terrified of them, and I stay far away from them, yet I enjoy watching them and listening to them. Your description of running from the barn swallows gave me the willies!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your history with birds had me chuckling right along with each incident (esp: Someone else was feeding the birds and I got the stuff as it came out the other end…..right on my chest and in my hair.)! Like you, I LOVE watching birds and spend every morning just watching them. My own form of meditation. I currently live in Rochester, NY and at the mention of “Seneca Park Zoo” I got really excited that we are neighbors, but have come to realize that there is probably more than one SPZ out there. I also really enjoyed this line, “The large tree serves as a great perch for dinner decisions.” Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Janeen! I grew up outside of Rochester in a small town on the Western side of the suburbs. We only went to Seneca Park Zoo on occasion, but it is many from there that sticks with me. I live in Wisconsin now. The topography is very much like Western New York. Thanks for stopping by!


  5. I love how you chronicled your history with birds! I think this is a great topic. It made me think of all my bird stories – several bird poop stories (LOL), seagull/beach attack, and visiting a neighbor who had pet birds that flew around freely in the house (yikes!). One of my favorite parts of the #SOLSC is reading and connecting to others – it’s incredible how many memories reading a few other blog posts can drum up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SOL is an incredible community. I’ve enjoyed “getting” to know people over the years and look forward to reading more of their posts, as well as “meeting” new writers. Thanks for stopping by! I was surprised at how many had a connection to the bird post!


  6. Carol, I’m so happy you’ve learned to love birds (well, that’s how I’m taking it!). They’re such a big part of my life, and I enjoy seeing and hearing of others who find joy in them as well. They’re fascinating in so many ways. I love your pictures of the larger birds–beautiful. When I was out the other day with the groups of env educators we saw a great horned owl; I would have loved to get a picture, but it wasn’t to be. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I can say that I do really like birds now. I know how important they are to biodiversity and our ecosystems. Living by one of the largest flyways in the country has certainly helped! I have never seen an owl in the wild. I would love to – on our winter hikes at the cabin, I kept my eyes peeled for a snowy owl this winter. No luck.


  7. “I got the stuff as it came out the other end” made me laugh and remember a day on the beach when my daughter was attacked by a seagull. She is still afraid of them. Like you, I have a love/hate relationship with birds. My parents always said it was “bad luck” to have a bird in the house. I can relate to your mixed feelings, which you explained so well in this piece. Enjoy your feathered friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My backyard is the same way including the red-tailed hawk. While I’m not a fan of the hawk I will say I do admire him when I see him diving ever so gracefully. The chickadees are one of my favorites to watch. They remind me of my kids at recess. They are every so playful but sometimes get a little rowdy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the chickadees too, and the goldfinches that undulate when flying. Hummingbirds, which I failed to mention in my post, are my favorite! The hawk is a favorite just because he/she stays still enough to take a photograph! Glad you have a backyard filled with wildlife. Enjoy!


  9. Your had me at “bird watcher”! I’ve loved birds my whole life, and now that we live on a small lake, I’ve enjoyed the blue herons, geese, ducks, an occasional green heron, hawks, and yes…the majestic bald eagle. I loved your photos and hearing about your journey toward appreciating birds!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Holly! I love Great Blue Herons, too. We do have them here, but I rarely see them. The loons have replaced the herons as my favorite water birds since I at least hear them frequently.


  10. Yes, birds ARE awesome. I’ve come to like them more and more as I’ve started paying more attention to them. You know who I’ve really started to enjoy and admire, much to my surprise? Crows. I love to watch them in my neighborhood as they fly around and interact with one another. Thanks for this great slice. You brought up some happy thoughts – which are ALWAYS welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

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