Monday, June 19, 2006

Birds, Blogs, and a Real Title

First of all, I'd like to announce that I have a solid name for my blog now, no more revolving quotes, as fun as they are... perhaps I'll start doing a quote of the week or something. Hmmm, but without further ado, Alis Volat Propiis, a latin phrase meaning "she flies with her own wings". I liked it for a few reasons, one being that it has a subtle, or perhaps not so subtle, allusion to birding. I also love that it's latin seeing as I took 3 years of it in high school and have been considering heavily declaring classics as my major. Finally I felt it described me well. I have never been conventional, whatever that means, as a birder and belly dancer who tested out of high school early, and generally could be counted on to never do things the normal way, it's me. =)
Birding with Oscar Johnson in San Diego
Now down to business, a question was posed, why bird? and more, why blog? This got me thinking about it, I've been asked many times why it is I bird, and each time I seem to have a varying response. I suppose I bird because I love it, because it is an intellectually stimulating form of escape. It allows me to forget about school, work, life, and drama, and yet it isn't something mind numbing like television, but rather something engaging, challenging, and refreshing.
Birding provides an excuse to be outdoors (as if one was ever needed!) and it gives me ample things to learn like songs and field marks, and with those I learn plants, insects, and how they all connect. Learning about birds teaches you about nature in general and the way things interact and relate. Getting to know phainopeplas, you discover that they like mistletoe berries, and from there, that mistletoe is a parasitic plant which in So Cal can be found in sycamores... it goes on. Each new discovery leads to many more.
I admit I also like the challenge of competition. Listing and chasing - as many birders have discovered - is a great way to add a competitive edge to what could be a very casual hobby. The thrill of the chase provides a different experience entirely than say a leisurely bird walk, and I think both are fantastic, each for their own reasons.
I could go on but I think that's enough to bring me to question two, why blog? For me it's about sharing experiences. Reading other people's blogs is a way of birding vicariously. You see things in a light entirely different from the way you yourself might have interpreted that situation. It also allows one to experience birding in regions far different from their own, take the Birding Babylon blog written by the soldier in Iraq for example. Sharing my own posts allows me to re-live them, thus helping my memory, to upload the photos and share those snapshots of time, and to show people what my version of Southern California is.


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