Daily Archives: May 7, 2020

Don Torino's Life in the Meadowlands: Our Birding Stories

Our lives are all about stories, the stories we recollect from the days when we could run full out day and night without rest to the years when things slowed down and our lives sagas became more about old friends and family. These are the very same tales we love to recall when we have big audiences and the stories we love to remember when we are sitting on the front porch alone. 

They are the stories we love to pass on to our children and our grandchildren and the stories we use to remind all our old buddies about where we have been and what we have done. They are our stories, the ones we hold deep in our hearts and save in that very special place to bring out when we need a smile or to renew our spirit. And so it goes the same for our birding stories. 

Just as in life, birding is all about the stories too. Our stories are about the time when we saw our first Hummingbird buzz by your nose and felt the breeze from its wing on your cheek. They are stories that tell how you thought your heart was going to jump out of your chest when you watched your first Eagle soar silently overhead. 

They are the unforgettable tales about when a Barred Owl stared down at you from an old Pin Oak or when a kettle of Broad-winged hawks seemed to come out of nowhere just for you and like the very special Cardinal that visits your feeder everyday just to say good morning. They are the stories that never leave you, the tales that become part of you and make you who you are and remind you why you love the birds.

Our birding stories are not only about birds but they are also about the people that taught us how to love and appreciate our avian creatures of the skies. Our stories are about the how our fathers  helped build our first birdhouses and our best birding buddy that has passed on and left us. The stories are about the first warm spring day when we brought our son or daughter on their first bird walk and the friend that showed us how to identify our first Savannah Sparrow.

Memorable birding stories are not only about successes but also about our wonderful disappointments, We love to brag about how by some boundless miracle or our great attained birding skills we saw that rare life  bird that we added to our list. But we also love to tell the tale about the time we traveled far from home only to miss that life bird by just a a few hours. They all play a part of the stories we love to remember .

Much like Native American cultures that carry on their heritage by storytelling birders too pass on their love of birding by a storytelling tradition. The Raptors, Warblers and Sparrows would not mean nearly as much unless we got to tell their story to our children, friends and everyone who cares (and even sometimes to those e that don’t) to listen to our folktales about the birds. 

The wonderful thing about birding is that there are many more stories to pass on, and have no doubt through this awful time of fear and loss we will have our stories to tell, memories to be made and tales to pass on.

As long as we can get outside, walk a trail, sit on a bench or look out a window our stories will always be there for us waiting to be experienced, acknowledged and finally told. So get outside and experience the wonders of our natural world. There is much we need to pass on and many, many more stories to tell.