Birding—Mar. 23, 2012
Well, it’s that time of year again, when all the sand hill cranes descend on Nebraska and bring with them a slew of birdwatchers and bird enthusiasts. I remember going on field trips to see the cranes when I was in elementary school, and since the cranes are here again I thought it might be interesting to learn a bit more about birds and the people who watch them.
One of the first things I learned is that true bird enthusiasts do not like being called “birdwatchers,” instead they prefer to be called “Birders.” I found this out by reading the very interesting book The Big Year, by Mark Obmascik. This book is a true account of three avid birders, Sandy Komito, Al Levantin, and Greg Miller, who during 1998 all went on a big year. A big year is when a birder goes out and during the span of one year sees as many birds as they can in a certain country or continent, in this case the United States and Canada. And just a side note one of the birders from the book, Greg Miller will be speaking at the Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center on March 24th. The Big Year was also recently made into a movie with Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson, both the book and the film are available at the library.
Also try the book The Life of the Skies, by Jonathan Rosen. This book is not only a history of bird-watching in America, but also a meditation on changes in our views about killing animals, and a deeply personal book about the transforming qualities of a life spent observing the natural world.
Now if you want to do some birding of your own the library has many books that will aid you in your search. First try the Birder’s Dictionary, by Randall T. Cox. This book will give you all the terms you need to know about birding. Also get Birds of Nebraska: A field Guide, by Stan Tekila for a great listing of the types of species of birds found in our great state. The library also has a great assortment of bird guides and other great books on birds. Stop on in to Hastings Public Library and get to Birding!