I recently took a camping trip to experience the great out-of-doors with emphasis on the birds. I learned some things about "watching the birds".
 1. I cannot NOT watch an indigo bunting.  It has eye appeal and all or parts of a delightfully infectious song. No wonder they are everywhere!!! Who could resist that mating opportunity.
 2.  In fact, color wins out every time with me.. I would have never seen a Tennessee warbler if it were not for the flock of   birders pointing them out.  So I'm focused on some bird which from below is just a white belly and a lovely cardinal flies by... forget that white bellied bird.  
 3.  Why does that bird keeping going back to the same place.. Every time I put my binocs up I'm seeing one spot in that tree.  Oh, it's a nest... and what is that bird?   Oh,, it's a red-eyed vireo, another bird that looks unremarkable to me.

 4.  Thank goodness for  migrating birds that you can actually see and even better if they decide where you are "is home". 

 5.  Once I've seen that remarkable bird (pick one: common nighthawk asleep on a branch, prothonotary warbler playing hide-and-seek), I'm going back there ,,,, again and again.. What power and control those birds have over me. Sometimes  it pays off.  Like with the cerulean warbler in Lost Valley.(St. Charles Co. MO)

 6.  Birds feeding their young is another draw for me.. like that chickadee, flapping it's wings.  I stood and watched that for a long time on my camping outing. 

 7.  Where there is water.. a ditch, a spring, a puddle, or a genuine creek, there are birds..... and SNAKES!  and MOSQUITOS!!.     It is captivating to watch a bird... any bird taking a bath, splashing.. looking "happy".

 8.  So I'm hooked on the beautiful, the touching, the everyday life, the life cycle.  So no wonder my warbler list is so short!!

     So I've decided:  I want to own a preserve or park... like Mike Brady owns Castlewood State Park in St. Louis County . 

   Pics from my out-of-state camping trip can be found at:
or if this does not work: ,  the May 7-9, 2010 gallery.

Jane Allen
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St. Louis County 
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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