Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chronic Listers Syndrome

While out birding with the Winter List in mind, I had to pause and take stock of what accounts for the new giddiness when I see a familiar bird.  There clearly seem to be some symptoms and repetitive behaviour associated with bird listing. What's old becomes new again, as the saying goes.

 I find myself looking forward to creating and adding to existing lists. There is the Backyard List, Life List, Newfoundland Life List, Annual List, Winter List and of course, the Christmas Bird Count. On top of this is all of the ticking that I do....ticking off birds seen on my Newfoundland Checklist and in all of my bird guides. That's a lot of ticking!  I'm not complaining, mind you.

When I start a new list, I find myself unable to contain the desire to get out and look for birds, raise my camera before my binoculars, spend way too much time cruising, check the Google Group much too often and eagerly post anything special that I might see.
 What do you take for the malady? Well, the only thing that seems to quiet the need it to go with it!
 I find myself stopping to look at common birds just like I had never seen them before. This is the case with these chickadees. They bring a joyful sound to the woods with their year-round calls and song.  The distinctive voice is a welcome sound and often means that there are other birds around, too.
 I often hear this bird before seeing it. At that point my senses awaken and I stop, look and listen much like a hunting dog that has a bead on a bird in the bush.
More like a pointer I try not to flush the bird so that I can enjoy the moment for as long as possible.  I don't think I will ever tire of watching the chickadees and like a fresh of breath air, every time I start a new list they are an important addition to the tally.

It is like creating a new list is a way of keeping birding fresh even when most of the birds added to the list are already familiar. In addition to that it becomes a great historical record of what has gone before.

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