Birding: A Singular & Important Hobby

Birding is a great hobby for a whole host of reasons. Two reasons come right to mind. First of all, birds are beautiful, especially in flight, and they capture the imagination. Birds inspire. Secondly, birding is a hobby you can pursue alone. You don’t need a team, group, spouse or friend. We all need hobbies we can work on alone.

I’m also focusing on birds and promoting birding because people who become interested in birds generally become interested in other forms of wildlife, wildlife habitat, the broader environment, and conservation.

So, in summary, this blog is about stimulating interest in birds, birdwatching, and in conservation, plain and simple. We’ll touch on other things too, of course. And hopefully, we’ll all have some fun (and maybe learn a thing or two)!

I want to start things off with a photo I took on 3/25.  As the Elizabeth River Project trademark is the Brown Pelican, I thought it would be only fitting to start with a photo of one I took recently as it flew just above the waters of the Southern Branch near Inland Rd. in Chesapeake.

Brown Pelican in flight
Brown Pelican

The Brown Pelican is one of those “comeback story” species. The population was decimated because of pesticides, the species was endangered, but now it has made a remarkable comeback. And now Brown Pelicans are everywhere.

Another comeback story species is the Osprey. There were just over 1000 pairs on the Chesapeake Bay before DDT was banned in 1972. There are now around 10,000 (or more) breeding pairs on the Bay, including this pair!

Male Osprey delivering nesting material
Male Osprey delivering nesting material

(Well this pair isn’t technically nesting on the Bay, but it is pretty darn close!) Ospreys, too, are everywhere. I captured this from the Kinder Morgan Elizabeth River Terminals marsh on the Southern Branch in Chesapeake on 4/17. A pair of Ospreys has bred on this platform, adjacent to Elizabeth River Project’s biggest restoration effort to date, for years. This was a fun shot. I monitor a number of Osprey nests in the watershed. Here’s a link to the nests I watch. There you’ll find log entries and photos from 2017 and 2018.

Now here’s a good challenge question.  And I hope you respond. What do you think the male was delivering to the nest, and why was he delivering it? For that matter, why wasn’t SHE delivering it? Any ideas?

And lastly, let me leave you with a bird in flight photo (an Osprey) that may even more effectively than anything I’ve said answer the question, Why birds? It certainly speaks to their beauty, doesn’t it?

Osprey in flight
Osprey in flight



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