This is for I and the Bird

Birds have always been a source of endless fascination for me. I had parakeets when I was in high school and spent hours photographing them and watching them fly in circles around my bedroom.

Parakeets Sam and Pat

For awhile my dad was breeding canaries and finches and so no matter where I went in the house, there were birds. I suppose my love of watching birds was inherited from him.

Every place I’ve lived I set up a bird feeder and have spent hours happily watching the birds come to the feeder and doing what they do. We had a purple martin house at our old home, and I used to love sitting on the porch watching the flying lessons every spring. I always felt a little sad each July when they left.

So what’s so interesting about birds? I think it’s the wildness. There’s something about seeing wild animals that makes me just stop and stare, that reminds me that as far away from nature as I sometimes feel, it’s still there. Birds – beautiful, funny, graceful – are the wild animals that most of us see most frequently and so watching birds is something of a way to reconnect with nature without leaving our cities or even, for that matter, our homes.

Whenever I see birds while I have my camera on me as I did on our recent trip to Lake Tahoe, I always try to photograph them simply because they’re so hard to shoot. A good bird picture is an accomplishment. I don’t know how good these are, but I’m happy to have shared a space with these birds for a few moments as our separate journeys brought us all together for a few fleeting moments.

A seagull flying over Lake Tahoe (taken in Tahoe City, CA):

Seagull over Tahoe

Canadian Geese at the Tahoe City Commons:

Canadian Geese

Canadian Geese

A Stellar’s Jay at Sugar Pine Point State Park on Lake Tahoe in California:

Stellar's Jay

Birds are transitory creatures. They’re here for a while and then they move on. Whenever I see a bird, I wonder where it’s been, what it’s seen.

I get jealous.