Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Join the Club

I very much enjoy observing nature. Mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, insects - what ever is around. I generally take mental notes of such observances; sometimes I do mark the sighting on a checklist, like for birds. Only one time did I ever join a group with the aim of observing and recording specific data about a species. And although I enjoyed watching, in this case, birds of prey, I found the requirement to record so much data tedious. So I dropped out. I know, what a slacker. But I found that the level of enjoyment I experienced while having to think about and record so much data made the overall experience a chore, rather than a pleasure.

Even my own birding list is filled out very sporadically. I don't keep one year to year, but just keep adding to the one I've had for the past 4 years or so. And I may go for months (and months) without recording a single species, though I have seen several in that time. So what's my point here? My point is that I don't like to jump on band wagons where someone or some organization is relying on information I collect, especially if the information that is requested is more than a simple, "I saw this species here." I don't even record that information for myself.

So, it is quite surprising to me to have found a "cause" to join. Perhaps the simpleness of it is what caught my eye. And what I discovered as I read about this little event, was that I DID want to be more observant and aware of what is around me, when, and how often. So naturally that requires more effort than simply noting "I saw this species here".

The event (and really, its more than an event) is called Big Green Big Year - or BIGBY. Since I don't usually travel great distances to go birding, this is right up my alley. This is, shall we say, environmental birding. Birding by foot, bike, or local transportation. I love it! Cause that's how I do my birding anyway. This just gives me a focus, a purpose to my wanderings. And I figure I can make it as detailed or as simple as I'd like.

So to keep me on track (I tend to lose focus quite easily), I have added a section to my sidebar where I'll keep track of all birds I see - whether traveling, walking, flying, etc. - as well as those that just fit the BIGBY requirements.

I have to say I am quite excited about this. Finally something that I can get into that fits my level of observation, but adds just enough challenge that it pushes me to be a better observer overall.

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