Loving the sweet sights and songs of the songbirds

I love birds. I have a special fondness for the birds we see most often. For me that is obviously Song Birds.

As a lapsed biology major who is much more artist than scientist these days I am not strictly speaking in scientific terms of species, family, genus, order, etc. types of classifications when I speak of Song Birds. This is more of I know it when I see it kind of reverence for birds I think of as song birds. So scientists and hard core birders avert your eyes. The way I think about and talk about Song birds might make you squeamish.

I love Song Birds not because they are necessarily something special or spectacular. I love them because they are often average, normal, and mundane. They are often the kinds of birds we see and hear every day. They types of nature that just blends into our environment and we often don’t even see anymore.

Eastern Bluebird perched on a tree branch in New York.

I think that the fact that there is so much of that kind of nature surrounding us is amazing in its way. Nature is so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. When was the last time you seriously contemplated a Robin? Or thought deeply about a sparrow? Any sparrow. I’m not going to try to pinpoint a particular species because I struggle to identify them. As I noted before artists not scientist. Lol.

I am just like everyone else. I take these numerous birds for granted as well. Despite the multitudes of opportunities to photograph many song birds I have fewer photographs of the most common song birds than I do of other bird species that require a little more effort to even try to photograph.

Female Red-Winged Blackbird flapping their wings while perched on a branch at Montezuma.

But instead of lamenting our lackadaisical approach to the mundane natural wonders that we take for granted I want to celebrate the fact that there are elements of nature that are still so abundant that we can take them for granted. I think it is good to be happy that there are aspects of nature that are not currently imperiled. We can’t live in a constant state of doom and gloom, worrying about what we are losing or soon may be lost.

We need to be ok with what we have and accept it. Then we can take the next step to appreciating it more. As I write this we recently had some nice weather. The windows were open to let in the fresh air. You know what else it let in? The bird song. From the Song Birds. And it really brightened up the day while at home.

Dark-Eyed Junco perched on a tree branch in New York.

One thing I love about art and my photography is that it often brings me more in touch with nature. But often it connects me to new things or unknown and unseen things. It doesn’t connect me to the world that exists most directly as part of my life as much as I would like. I hope I will begin to point my camera lens at the birds that might seem at first trivial and take the time to learn more about them.

When I do photograph songbirds these days it is more likely to be a species of bird that has more brilliant colors. A bird that has some interesting behavior to observe. Or it may be a bird that is more uncommon or rare and not easily photographed. I think that is just in our nature. It is easy to marvel at the things we are not familiar with.

But if we take time to observe and think about the parts of our life that are common and mundane we may find that they are just as marvelous as the rare or exotic. Then that will open up a whole new world of interest and opportunities for appreciation and conservation.

Evening Grosebeak perched on a railing in New York.

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