[Tweeters] (Clark Co.) The joys & woes of birding

Luke Hanes lukeandharmony1997 at gmail.com
Sun May 3 15:11:29 PDT 2015

I assume my story isn't unlike many of yours...

A friend encouraged me to look at birds and gave me a beginners field
I reluctantly did.
While bird "watching" I saw a Northern Flicker and was dumbfounded that I
didn't know this bird existed.
I was hooked.

>From that point forward I couldn't wait to discover what else was out there.

Every day was a new discovery.
I was in love with birds. Weird.
Their colors, calls, songs and behaviors astounded me.
I found the experience very multifaceted - relaxing, wondrous, even

But then... I was introduced to eBird.

It wasn't too long before my love for birds was overtaken by competition.
I wanted to become the best "birder" I could be.
I wanted to be able to go anywhere in Clark County and identify any bird by
sight or sound.

Now I'm caught in a tug-of-war between the love of discovery and the
competition to be "better".
I find fulfillment and joy in both, but blast! The competition facet can
be overwhelming to me!
I find myself stretching the truth to talk myself into being confident that
I really DID see such `n such.
My integrity hasn't been tested this much since college.

Today I removed MacGillivray's Warbler, Long-eared Owl and Northern
Saw-Whet Owl from My eBird.
If I'm honest, I just cannot confidently claim that I identified those
species (I'm also debating Swamp Sparrow and Thayer's Gull).
It's embarrassing how difficult this was for me. Ridiculous.

Recently Ryan Abe shared an article with me that was really good for me to
read (http://blog.aba.org/2015/04/birding-is-hard.html)
Yes, birding is hard. And the hardest part isn't identification. It's
me! It's the self-talk I have while seeing/hearing a bird and then the
hours, days and even months after contact of debating what I really

So here's to all you experienced birders out there that have already
wrestled through all this. I respect you greatly.
And thank you to all the Tweeters comments these past few months as I try
to sort this stuff out.
And thank you to Ryan Abe, Jim Danzenbaker and Bob Flores for the time
you've spent with me in the field.

Now if I can just find that blasted Cassin's Vireo!

Luke Hanes
Vancouver, WA (Felida)
lukeandharmony1997 at gmail.com
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