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Bayou Birding
November 18, 2011
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Sky Island Woman Visits Her Mom In the Deep South
My Mom Birding With Me In The Bayou In Back Of Her House
“Let’s drag it.  It’s a canoe after all and made to take some rough conditions.”  My Mom and I were slowly waking up after staying up late to visit and catch up on each others’ lives.  We were on her porch drinking tea and watching the birds feeding and singing in the crisp fall morning air.  Her house sits on a bayou that flows into the Gulf of Mexico.  It’s a pretty nice scene watching the birds coming and going from the lush cyprus trees lining the banks.  My Mom says, “Lets get closer to the birds” and points to a canoe next to the boathouse.  The two of us finally manuever the “heavier than it looks” canoe into the water.  For me, canoeing is a new twist on birding and a great way to forge strong memories with my Mom.      
Pileated Woodpecker In A Cypruss Tree
Stealth Is A Good Thing While Birding
              
As we glide along the water we silently approach a Great Blue Heron making like a statue.  Then it comes to me;  Birding is a walking-, hiking-, biking or even canoe-based sport that gets you out into nature where the birds are.  And sometimes “getting there” can be a great workout as well as fun and rewarding.
                        
A great thing about birding is that you don’t have to travel to far-off oe exotic birding places such as Ecuador or Brazil.  Birding is an accessible sport you can do with limited equipment anywhere.  On a bayou, on a hiking trail or even your back yard.  Knowing all the bird names, their habitats, and other facts are not a requirement for birding fun (or I would be in trouble), but getting outdoors is.   Walk, run, or ride your bike to a nearby open space – preferably near a water source even if a backyard fountain or golf course pond.  Be sure to take your binoculars ( a MUST), enjoy the fresh air–and keep your eyes and ears open for activity. When you locate a bird perching overhead or bathing in a bird bath, stop and watch it.  Voila, you are now enjoying the fastest growing sport in America! 
Sky Island Woman Proving She Can Adapt to the Bayou 

As with any hobby, the more time spent on it, the more involved you become. My passion for being outdoors and hiking is what led me to birding.  Now my birding takes me to new hiking trails. and as of now I can add canoeing as a birding platform.  It’s a thrill to spot and actually be able to identify a bird. Especially the less common varieties.  Plus I enjoy seeing new places, getting outside, and slowing down enough to REALLY SEE what is going on around me.  . 
So if you are ever out on the trails or on your bike or even canoeing, grab your binoculars, field guide and carry a little notebook to write down your spottings.  Better yet, ask a loved one to join you.  Even if you can’t identify the birds yet,  you’ll make some beautiful memories. 

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