Thursday, July 15, 2010
Little Green Birding Challege
This morning as I was flipping through the August 2010 issue of Birder's World, I saw an article that both piqued my interest and filled me with guilt for how quickly my good intentions of last month went to naught: "The Big Green Birding Challenge" by Diana Doyle. The author, who lives in Minneapolis, was feeling guilty about the wastefulness of a hard-birding lifestyle -- "The irony was hard to ignore: I'd drive my husband Mark's SUV in order to enjoy birds threatened by habitat fragmentation and global warming. What was I doing?" So, she decided to do a BGBY (pronounced Bigby), a Big Green Birding Year. A BGBY involves doing all one's birding on foot or bicycle. (Some people will allow public transportation on their Bigby, but pleading with a friend to drive you is definitely out.)In the process of her green birding year, she saw tons of good stuff. Owls, pelicans, phalaropes, bitterns, warblers, you name it, all within a non-driving distance of her house. I seriously need to think about moving to Minneapolis!
Perhaps, if you have been to this blog before, you remember how last month I was so disgusted and distraught over the Oil Spill that I went for two weeks without a car, not even to bird...not even to go to work in the pouring rain...to show it could be done. I had intended to seriously scale back my use of gasoline even after the two weeks was over, because it is the right thing to do. But instead I went into serious birding withdrawal--I may have even experienced some birding DT's--and subsequently went on a Birding Binge that took me all the way up to northern Michigan and back. (Although, in my defense, my old Birding Buddy Sunwiggy was struggling to identify a bird up there--it was my duty as a Birding Buddy to help her out!)
I squinted at the article for a while (it was early in the morning) and sternly asked myself how I fell off the No Oil Wagon so quickly. If the author could do it, why can't I? After all, I'm just as disgusted and distraught about the Oil Spill now as I was a month ago.
Excuse #1: There are no cool birding spots close enough to where I live. Green Birding for me would involve a long-term relationship counting house sparrows and starlings. Rebuttal: How would I know, I haven't seriously tried. There are nice ponds, and little woods, fields and meadows, streams, all here in town. Some are very close to me indeed.
Excuse #2: There are so many cars and people drive like maniacs. Trying to BGBY would be like a death wish. Rebuttal: Am I really trying to convince myself that there are more cars in Bloomington, IL than in MINNEAPOLIS? Nice try!
Excuse #3: I'm a lister and putting new birds on my list is, like, my only hobby and why do I subscribe to e-bird alerts if I'm not going to chase down the birds I need for my list? Rebuttal: Sounds like a personal problem to me....
Excuse #4: I'm awfully lazy! OK, that one can't be rebutted, but I can strive to do better.
I can't promise myself a whole Green Birding Year or even a month--but the article did rekindle my interest in doing more to conserve resources. So, I will start out with a Little Green Birding Challenge. To start it off, Sunday instead of driving hither and yon in search of birds (Excuse #5: I have pre-made plans for Saturday!), I will use my feet, and only my feet. Last weekend at Comlara I saw 35 species. I challenge myself to find at least that many here in town!
P.S., check out the new blog on my blogroll, Green Birding. Very inspirational!