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I loved your commments, Susan. However, some of us "oldsters" have that same
> enthusiasm since we are "young at birding". I have been saddened to discover
> like-aged peers prefer dry comments like, "Yea, I've seen it before." when
> trying to share the joy of a new discovery. Worse yet,  is to be treated as
> a totally ignorant person without any  knowledge (even though new to birding
> or a birding area) and be told, "Stay back!" or "Move! I/we need to identify
> that bird!".  The man that intoduced this wonderful life experience (giving
> me a 'friend' I can keep with me at all times) taught me to share, open up -
> and re-enforce why a bird is what I identifided it as:  name the field
> marks, flight pattern, call, habitat, etc. He always offered a bit of
> helpful or beneficial knowledge about a species that helped me to identify
> it later when I was on my own.  He was always there to help birders of all
> "birding ages" receive the knowledge they needed to grow.  I'm sure my
> mentors (some of the finest birders in the country,  some contributing
> editors to top birding guides, some devoted lovers of sharing birding
> knowledge) knew what they were doing when they taught me to keep some rare
> "bird treasures" to myself  because not all other birders appreciate birds
> in the way I've been taught to. . . . and that no one person "knows it all".
> As a "1-yr old birder", I convinced a leading authority in this country to
> change his ID on a very important species find; I have been able to ID many
> of the 'first of the season' and several 'first in the area' for Texas
> coasts. I don't think I'm special or an expert but many of these were found
> because I see birding with the eyes of a 'young un' and don't know I can't
> find species where the books say. I've learned some birds have not read the
> books so don't know boundries, but most people have read the books and frame
> themselves in. We all have something to offer and lots to learn - it is such
> a shame that only the age-young are given the patience, admiration and
> encouragement that many age-old people need for the only joy they may have
> in their lives. One of the reasons I love birding so much is because I can
> see the value it offers to anyone, anytime, anywhere at any age. I see that
> what I have learned has now been passed on to my grandchildren (all which
> can start naming species by age 1).  I share that with them because I love
> to see them discover something new, and because they appreciate with awe
> what I am so excited about discovering myself. It is because I wish so much
> I had learned of "birding" when I was young and could have seen so many more
> species than I will ever get to now.  I share it while with my mother as she
> fights her long cancer battle. I am able to point out birds she has always
> had in her yard but has never seen before, and yet she is the one that has
> always had the love of birds and I just came into it. I've learned that
> little ones share my excitement and have joy for me because of a new
> discovery I've found for myself. I'm learning that some of the most
> beautiful and special birds are in the most ugly places man creates a mess
> of: Sora and it's young, Louisiana Waterthrush visiting at length with a
> Common Yellowthroat on a barbed-wire fence, Orange-crowned Warbler,
> Baltimore Oriole, Warbling Vireo, 200 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers roosting
> each night, a Prairie Falcon and on and on. Where? In a weedy 20' x 40'
> patch of discharge water in a nasty camper park I stayed at in Carthage, MO
> 2 yrs ago (as a brand-new birder). I am still seeing "lifers" (as some in
> the birding world call them) every season of every year and my heart does a
> dance and my thanks always goes heavenward. I am so thankful  for the sight
> and mobility that I do have and for being given such an opportunity to enjoy
> such treasures - and I always wish there could be someone else to see it and
> share the precious sighting  with whether it is a "first" or "fiftieth"
> time. Today was one of those days as I observed a male Common Yellowthroat, an Ovenbird, and a White-crowned Sparrow all sitting in a small, tight  group in a tree here on the farm. My breath is taken away and I wonder how many others have seen such a wild and wonderful combo of birds in their own back yard!
> 
> I appreciate your comments, Susan, for all the truth they hold . . . . I
> just think that same truth bleeds over to all ages, even some of us
> "oldsters"!
> 
> Regards,
> 
> Cathie Foster


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