Over the past few decades, I’ve become an avid bird watcher. Walking through the woods several times a week has become a release for me, and I’ve probably seen every bird in the area at least twice. I used to do it for my health, but now it’s only for pleasure. I bumped into a new birdwatcher the other day, and we have become solid partners in our hobby.
When I first came upon the young man, he had a pair of binoculars around his neck, a camera swinging from one arm and a rectangular case on his other arm that I would later learn was his computer. He asked me what birds nested in the area, and I gave him a few names. He whipped his binoculars to his face, but he was disappointed not to see any. I told him he would have to sit and wait until they flew by.
We relaxed on a nearby rock and he told me his family had challenged him to find an outdoor hobby for a change. He told me he worked with computers, and they believed he was becoming a hermit. I told him about my doctor’s prescription to go bird watching, and I even took out the laminated prescription. We laughed as we compared our history and reasons for being there.
He said his goal was to hurry up and take a picture of every type of bird that was in the area. Once he had catalogued them, he would be done with this hobby. I smiled because that had originally been my idea when I began, but I also knew how walking in the woods could change a person’s outlook. Rather than brush him off, I offered to meet him several times a week and point out birds. It will take him a few years to find all of them even with my experienced help.