Forgive my self-indulgent navel-gazing essay, but the upcoming issue of the blog carnival, I and the Bird, is celebrating its first anniversary. In honor of that auspicious occasion, they are linking to essays that conform to a specific theme. The theme consists of the response to one (or more) of several questions that they posed to anyone who has contributed to making the first year of that blog carnival into a success.
The Questions: Why do you blog, why do you watch birds, or why do you blog about birds?
I write a blog because I enjoy the community of blog writers that I unexpectedly found myself included in. By simply writing a blog, I have been included in a community of interesting, wonderful, compassionate, thinking people from around the world. Where else would I have the opportunity to meet so many people whom I admire such as Chris Clarke, PZ Myers, Black Rat, Dharma Buns, and Phila, just to name a few?
Writing a blog breaks down social barriers. It allows me to record thoughts and moments that I would otherwise forget and it allows me to share those with my readers who then are inspired to share a few thoughts or moments from their lives that I would never have known about. As the result of a blog, we all can appreciate the commonalities that transcend race, gender, religion, etc.
Writing a blog makes me more consciously alive. Because I am always looking for "material", I look around more carefully, eavesdrop more carefully, and I actively seek the adventure in everyday living that I would otherwise ignore -- all so I can write about it for you.
Finally, writing a blog has made me less secretive about my writing and has helped improve my writing skills and my confidence in those skills. I know some of you will find it difficult to believe, but I have always been a prolific writer, but my "inner editor" never allowed me to show my writing to anyone, so writing a blog has been very good for overcoming that negative influence.
I watch birds because they are fascinating. Birds are so similar to humans, but unlike the mammalian pets who share our lives, birds are both visually and auditorially oriented, just as people are, so birds see and relate to the world similarly to humans, yet they are still so different from us. I am always fascinated by the feathery juxtaposition between the familiar and the alien when I watch birds.
I watch birds because they motivate me to explore the world. I go to so many odd places in search of birds and have met an amazing number of people who share the same passion. I have visited numerous sewage treatment plants, cow pastures, open prairies, mountains, shorelines, and other breathtaking places in search of birds, and I have learned so much along the way.
I watch birds because I enjoy the community: I think of bird watchers as friends I've not yet met. For example, I have known birders who have lost an expensive spotting scope hundreds of miles away from home, only to have another birder find it, hunt down the owner, then carefully pack up the scope and return it.
I write about birds because they have so many lessons to teach people; lessons about birds and their lives, about science, about nature and about ourselves. Birds help people be more human, birds help to connect people to the natural world, and I want to share that as widely as possible. Writing a blog is apparently the best way for me to do that.
Great article. I like the perspective of increasing your awareness of your surroundings. I can be in a noisy area and hear a kingfisher in the distance and I am immediately tuned to it. This weekend while camping I awoke to hear a Great Horned Owl in the distance. It was so faint that I listen to three or four calls before I could be sure it was really there. We knew there should be one in the area (from other reports) and were listenign before we went to sleep. I am sure my sub-conscious kept working on it while I slept.