Little did I know that in 1984, when I met this cute and feisty guy from Yorkshire that I’d end up as a Birder’s Wife. Now, in the beginning, waking up at 3am to hitch a truck ride from the south to the north of England in search of ‘little brown jobs’ seemed pretty exciting. Standing out on freezing clifftops with only the promise of fish and chips after was bliss. Wading through poison ivy to glimpse tiny, colorful warblers in Cape May didn’t seem nuts at all. 30 years on, I occasionally question my sanity back then.
I still ponder over what drives this obsession with feathered creatures. I know they’re beautiful and lead fascinating lives. I should’ve been on alert when I read multiple lined notebooks filled with ID points, sketches and endless details on molt and plumage. I have to say, these birds have taken us on incredible journeys – from the hilltops of Chengdu in China to icy lakes in Hokkaido, Japan and finally to our gorgeous hometown in Cape May. We’ve met incredible, sometimes wacky people and had adventures I could never imagine. As A Navy kid, I was always fascinated by my Dad’s photos of faraway places and birding gave me the chance to visit many of these. But I still quite can’t fully get my mind into the intensity of thousands of hours poring over the the difference between bill shapes and scapular details. For now and the near future, I’ll keep enjoying the views at our backyard hummer feeder as well as checking the local Osprey nest. I’m a Backyard birder by heart!