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All about birds

Many people in today’s busy culture have never really “seen” a bird. While they probably know the names of the most common birds, such as the pigeon or robin, how many people have looked at a bird and marveled at the perfect design or the bird’s flying abilities? This article is meant to open everyone’s eyes to the wonderful world of birds.Birds are incredibly diverse in shape, size and color. While most people know the difference between a duck and a cardinal, there is much more to bird diversity. Look through any field guide and one will be amazed at the diversity, from the subtly colored sparrows to the brilliant yellow and red of the western tanager; from the sparkling gems of the bird world, the tiny hummingbirds, to the king of birds, the majestic golden eagle. Some may find the difference in behavior the most interesting, ranging from the scrappy little chickadee to the timid, demure female bluebird.Birds are colorful. Even the sparrows, which many people consider dull, are a beautiful blend of harmonious browns and grays arranged in an incredible study of complexity that no artist, however talented, can do perfect justice. But the birds to which most people’s eyes are drawn are the brilliantly colored birds, like the indigo bunting in his splendid coat of blue, as bright as the bluest summer sky, or the goldfinch in his snappy coat of yellow and black. The oriole in his eye-popping orange and black, and the glistening green and red of the diminutive hummers also are favorites of many people.There are many birds, however, that don’t own the same bold colors but are pretty in their own way. Take, for example, a peregrine falcon, whose main colors are steely gray and white, not brilliant green, red or yellow. Yet, looking into the intensely fierce eyes of a falcon, who would not be captivated by a feeling of awe and inspired to say that it is a splendidly beautiful bird?The hobby of birding can go beyond just a personal means of enjoyment. One can also be involved in several activities that benefit birds and wildlife in general. One can participate in the “Christmas Bird Count” anywhere, or there are some places that host bird counts, one of which is Fountain Creek Nature Center in Fountain. This is a partial list and there are many other activities.What is needed to get started? First, one must have a good pair of binoculars. Do not buy any of the cheap models from department stores. Instead, optics should be obtained at birding supply stores such as The Wild Bird Center in Colorado Springs. Another essential piece of equipment is a good field guide. The best way to choose a good field guide is to contact an experienced birder, or go to a birding store and ask the advice of the owner, who will be an expert in the area of equipment.Birding is not just about the birds. It’s also about meeting people who love birds and birding. Birders are a friendly, helpful group, and most love to teach and help others. To learn more about birds, one can check out books from the library or contact the American Birding Association. The ABA is also a great place to learn about other birding activities, and, if one becomes a member, he will receive several birding publications. With all these wonderful birds and great people, what does one have to lose? Start birding today.

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