No, quite the contrary in fact. We just haven’t written about it in a while. We still live our lives with binoculars around our necks, and we’re constantly late because we’re always getting distracted by little warblers in the alders or softly calling birds in the tops of the Spruce trees. But since one of our duties as naturalists and guides is to know the birds, we must then know the birds.
In Baja, our year of birding was amazing because we sailed to a new location every few days and were able to constantly explore new deserts, new coastlines, and new river bottoms. In Alaska, it has been amazing to stay in one place and be able to explore one corner of the world in depth.
We’ve gotten to watch a pair of Steller’s Jays turn into a family of Steller’s Jays, and we’ve learned their haunts, their calls, their curiosities. We know them as individuals instead of as a generic member of a species. We’ve gotten to hear the sounds of the forest change through the summer as song gave way to silence, and then contact and alarm calls followed the fledgling birds through the understory. We know the trees where to expect the eagles, and the rocks where to expect the oystercatchers.
This is the first time Katie or I have intensely studied the birds of one single area, and the reward has been immense. We’ve taken the step beyond simply identifying which birds are present, and we’re now able to deduce things about the birds’ behavior, and theorize about their motivations and other ecological relationships. Our walks through the woods keep getting more and more fascinating with every bit of information that we garner.
We’ve also been using ebird to document our daily bird sightings…more on this in a few days.