365 Days of Thankfulness

Day Thirteen – December 7, 2017


I’m thankful for an inquisitive mind.

I enjoy nature and have been an avid birdwatcher for many years.  But while I love hearing the sounds around me outdoors, seeing wildflowers and wildlife l want to know more about those things.  So I dig into books and websites to learn more about what I’ve experienced.

Although I’ve been a birdwatcher for thirty years I didn’t start a life-list until about five years into my ornithological adventure.   The more I learned the more I wanted to know which resulted in me having multiple identification guides (Peterson’s, Sibley’s, etc.).  I even purchased one before going on a trip to Alberta, Canada to assist with any sightings I might have while there.   As the internet became more of a go-to source I have found the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s site All About Birds has been an invaluable source of information.

For instance, I had heard an Eastern Screech Owl once.  For such a small bird, about the size of an American Robin, they have a powerfully startling ‘screech’.  I had not associated them with their more common territorial call until recently.  Having heard an unusual night call I scoured the Cornell website and found that their territoriality call is much quieter and subdued.  You can listen for yourself here under “Descending trill during territorial defense”.  But my inquisitive nature doesn’t just show up relative to birds.

As a photographer, I take numerous pictures of plants as well.  I often write about the information I uncover in a series called “The Continuing Discoveries of a 21st Century Artist and Naturalist” like this one.   I’ve expanded my collection of field guides to include wildflowers, mushrooms, mosses, ferns and, most importantly, to me, butterflies.

I have discovered so much and am ever grateful to the inquiring minds that have blazed the path and created the guides I rely on so often.

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