A Shared Hobby With Dad… Birding, Who Knew?

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It’s been three years since my Dad died; truly difficult to believe! Life continues on, many waking moments with memories of him, with the realization of the impact a person can have upon your life even years after their death.

A recent visit home to spend time with my Mom always brought forth emotional moments. Talking of their world travel together, looking at all my Dad’s tools in the basement, but it was more than I realized when I asked my Mom if I could take my Dad’s Birds of North America pocket guide. At that moment I was curious about the birds he had seen in the Long Island New York backyard. I had a sense of comfort seeing his handwritten date in seeing a bird and the letters “B.Y.”, meaning backyard. I liked the feeling of knowing he had observed, enjoyed, and recorded the birds he saw among the flowers he had purposely planted for my Mom in Rose’s Garden.

My goal is to travel and see the world. In my younger years, I was fascinated with loons and would hike miles in the Adirondack Mountains to see and hear one. When I was recently in the Peruvian Amazon I was blown-away by sighting 100 birds within a 5 day period of time with a local guide. I then wondered why I am not taking time now to know more birds… those in my backyard and around the world.

I joined a local birding hike and on our first outing we saw 30 birds! More importantly I discovered I needed better binoculars to accurately see eye rings, wing shapes, breast color, crowns and wing bars. With new binoculars in hand I went to various birding spots and despite not knowing the name of a bird I simply loved the sight of it.

When I travel I often take photos of birds and never cared if I knew the name of the bird. But now as I learn about and see birds, I check their name off on my list and compare with my Dad’s bird book to see if he did too! Recently I saw a ruby-crowned kinglet … not a common bird to see …but how wonderful to know my Dad had seen it in NYS where it migrated through and I saw it in AZ as it wintered!

For now my birding notes will be compared with my Dad’s book, just as other birders compare their sightings and “life checklist of birds” with one another. I had not realized my Dad was a birder, but we’ll compare our notes for years to come.

Below are some photos of birds taken by me during bicycle trips, time in backyards, and birding times.

Cooper’s Hawk

Bald Eagle

Great Blue Heron

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Berkeley Plantation in Virginia

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History to be learned here and a beautiful place to relax outdoors! It was easy listening and learning about American history while listening to our guide. Have you visited a plantation? If not, I would recommend a visit. I also learned the cardinal is the state bird! There were so many flying around, wow! No photos could be taken inside the house.

Tucson’s “March For Our Lives” – End Gun Violence!

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Biceps as “guns” from this young person!

Today, many of us took time to rally and send a message across our country that gun violence needs to end. The Tucson, Arizona students did an excellent job organizing this march, having speakers at the end of the march, and being motivated as other youth around our country marching on this same day. As a past teacher and school administrator, I cannot imagine the worry students, parents of any student, teachers and staff at a school may have as they attend school for an education or are at their workplace. The majority of the country’s population is not asking for there to be no guns, but instead to keep the military-style guns out of the general population. Some hecklers along the march did stand on the side yelling they want their guns. Does it need to be a high-powered rifle, no. Does it need to be one with large magazines, no. Are you mentally-fit to possess a gun? Are you old enough to have a gun? We have regulations for so many things, yet not so for gun safety. Others will state there are plenty of regulations; however, the loopholes and availability of military-use weapons is not what the ordinary person truly needs. And besides, as long as there are shootings, then the gun issue needs to be looked at so we have less shootings. People can then go to the theater, school, concert, or church and not have a fear of “Am I next?”. Let your Congress and Senate representatives know how you feel about gun violence…and tell them, “Enough is enough!”

Teachers need to teach!

Choose life!

Tucson March for Lives

Beads of Courage

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I became aware of Beads of Courage at the March 2018 Banff Film showings in Tucson, Arizona. I will carry the beads on a future bicycling journey and will eventually write about some experiences I had while carrying them in honor of a young person struggling with a serious illness. A bead will be returned with my note so the young person receiving it is reminded to be strong. I will continue to wear my bead to give hope and honor courage. Want to be involved? Check out the website: www.BeadsofCourage.org

Tucson’s 131 Miles of Bicycle Paths

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Thanks to Pima County’s efforts there are 131 miles of bicycle path in Tucson and extended to South Tucson, Oro Valley and Marana. In reality it is a multi-use path because you see bicyclists along with walkers, rollerbladers, horseback riders, runners, and people on various pieces of equipment…just saw someone today on something of one wheel with footholds on each side of it!?!

Anyway, today was celebration day at a couple of locations on the loop so great fun seeing everyone outdoors and enjoying the path! Keeps everyone safe and away from vehicular traffic for the majority of the miles. When on the road, there are green painted boxes so bicyclists know where to be and for cars to stay out of those areas.

Let’s keep everyone safe! And have fun too!!