On any given day, millions of people across the country are watching birds. They are watching via bird watching clubs that they are members of. They join bird watching tours not only in their own city, but in cities and sometimes countries far away. Those really into it, plan holidays and family trips around the migration path of their favorite bird species. For these people, bird watching is addictive. Once you start, and discover the joys in it, you're hooked.
So what's the draw? Why are people doing this? For one thing, it's inexpensive. All you really need to begin your bird watching hobby is a pair of good binoculars. Then maybe in a month or two, you'll invest in a quality camera to capture for all time the birds you've seen.
Secondly, bird watching is a great excuse to spend time outdoors. Too many of us spend the year either closeted inside our homes or in a job cubicle. We've forgotten what it's like to breath fresh air and commune with nature. We've forgotten that we're not the only creatures blessed to live on this planet. We've forgotten that it's natural to be outdoors.
Third - bird watching can be very convenient. What's more convenient than watching birds in your very own back yard? You can go down to your local garden center, purchase a bird house and some feed, and have a bird sanctuary in your back yard in one afternoon. If you've done your homework correctly, your newfound bird friends will love you. If you're industrious enough and handy with a hammer and saw, you can even build a custom bird house.
Fourth - it provides you with your own private animal reality show. You'll quickly find yourself involved in the bird family pecking order. Who's dominant? Who's selfish? Who's nurturing? Who's a bully? You'll start to recognize distinct personalities. And those among us with slight psychological problems will start to name them.
Fifth - bird watching is a relaxing activity. No matter how stressed out your day has been, once you sit down with your binoculars and aim it towards your bird friends, you'll notice a sense of calm and tranquility coming over you. It's inevitable and can't be stopped. It's impossible not to feel your blood pressure dropping and the stresses and worries fleeing from your mind.
Sixth - you'll be helping nature by helping the species to survive. In many parts of the country, the natural habitats of the native creatures, including birds, have been destroyed. In modern society, new industrial or housing development trumps nature every time. With your bird watching hobby, you can help restore some of the habitat balance by providing nesting places, shelter from predators, and food for the birds that you enjoy.
Seventh - bird watching is a great social activity. Finding people who love the same thing as you do and spending time with them allows you to re-connect with your humanity. Instead of spending hours in front of the television, you can form friendship bonds that will stay with you the rest of your life.
Eight - It's great exercise. Hardly a day goes by without us hearing some newscaster talking about the obesity epidemic and how we Americans are getting fatter and fatter by the day. We all know that we should exercise more, but very few of us actually do it. Bird watching is a great way to exercise and have fun at the same time. Following and tracking birds through forest settings will give you plenty of exercise and help to keep you in good health.
For all these reasons, and more, bird watching is an activity that becomes more popular each year. In truth, it surprisingly has become one of America's most popular pastimes.
Ken Lawless writes articles on unique bird houses - where to buy them and how to build them.
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