A Personal Tale: Bird Watching 101

Finding my Way


There are so many people in the world that benefit from birding. Whether it is the sheer pleasure they experience when birding, or the love they have for nature; people who go birding all share a love for birds. Rebecca Snyder was no different in this aspect; she found a love for birding. What wasn't expected was how her love for birding would help her through her darkest hour. Rebecca shares her story and how discovering a love of birds helped turn her life around.

Finding my Way

After the divorce I just couldn't seem to find the enthusiasm for anything anymore. Being married for 27 years and then set aside for someone else was the most devastating trial in my life. After all when you're 49 years old, have had 3 pretty much grown children, you are not really expecting to be turned in for a younger model without much warning. I didn't want to go to the gym, read, or do any of the crafts I had always been so fond of. It's like I had lost the desire to do anything that would remind me of before the divorce. I was definitely in a rut.

It wasn't until my youngest daughter in college called that I had ever heard of birding. She was so excited at the program that was offered through the University that she told me all about it. After I hung up with her, I was mildly intrigued. For the first time in months, something had caught my attention to a degree. I decided I would research it later that night before bed and did just that. Soon my mild interest turned into avid curiosity. I had always loved the outdoors and wildlife, so why not take a walk and look at a few birds?

Due to a hectic work schedule, my little excursion was put off until the following weekend. I was impressed that I hadn't lost my interest in birding as I did with many other things as of late. So it was time to go for my little nature walk. I drove to the local park and began my journey. I was amazed at how many birds there were all around that I would have normally ignored. Not only were there a lot of birds, but quite a variety. I began to count the different kinds of birds that I found in trees, on the grass, in little puddles, and in bushes. After about 30 minutes of this, I realized that I was enjoying myself and really getting into it.

Finally after months of being a depressed hermit, I found a new passion. Who knew it would be birds? After an hour I drove home to call my daughter. I told her all about my little adventure in the park and all the beautiful birds I had seen. I soon found that I was excited about the subject of birds as she was. She couldn't wait until a break so that she could come home and we could go on a birding excursion together.

A few weeks passed and she came home during spring break. We had both done quite a bit of research on birding in the meantime and had all the equipment we needed. Going to a local national park, we began our quest for birds. We were both equipped with our handy notebooks and pen. The good thing is that we found tons of birds; the bad thing was that we had trouble identifying what was what. We both decided that we needed to get a little help. My daughter mentioned the birding trips that were offered at the university, and how helpful they were.

Driving home we were both contented with the amazing time we had birding, even with the identification issues. Since she had a few days left on vacation we found a local birding trip and signed up. Having people who knew what they were doing was an amazing help to both of us. Everyone was so nice and helpful; they were more than willing to share their information. It was on this trip that we met a man named Rob that kind of took us under his wing and showed us the ropes of birding. The trip was amazing and I planned to join more as they arose.

My daughter went back to school and I was left with my new hobby. I began joining organizations such as the ABA and Audubon Society. I love their magazines and newsletters. I think I have gained a bunch of my knowledge from those sources, maybe more than anywhere else. I participated in more birding trips and became good friends with many that attended them. Rob and I became betters friends and he was very helpful, always explaining things as we were birding so I could further enjoy my birding experiences.

Birding helped rescue me from a mid life crisis and the deep pit of despair that I was in. It helped to get me out of my house, among nature, and among other people who share the same interest. It was great because it was something me and my daughter can share, regardless of the vast age difference. Between my daughter and me, we've even managed to get the rest of my kids into birding to different degrees. It has brought me closer to all my children and helped me find the woman that was hiding behind my depression. Birding helped save me and has given me a great hobby to enjoy for the rest of my life.

Birding also helped me meet my new husband Rob. He's the other love in my life aside from birding. It's so great that we share the same interests. Rob and I are always going on birding trips, whether they are in a park close by, or the trip to Hawaii we took last month. The great thing about birding is that are basically birds wherever you go. It's great!


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