Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

May 18, 2014

OUTDOOR COLUMN: Birding has made great strides over the years

The word “birding” is not in my dictionary. There’s “birder.” There’s “bird house,” “birdie” and “bird lime.” But not “birding.”

Mine is an old dictionary. When I was a boy, which is even longer ago than the publication date of my dictionary, I never said I was going “birding,” either, though I was interested in birds at an early age. I said I was going bird watching.

As an indication of my early interest in birds, I made a bird feeder and hung it on a wire, which I strung from the side of our house to a tree in the yard, with Dad’s help, when I was in third or fourth grade.

I filled my bird feeder every morning before going to school. I often looked out a window to see the birds coming to my feeder. When I was outside, I stopped frequently, almost no matter what I was doing, to look at a bird. I went outside just to look for birds. But I never said I was going “birding,” nor did anyone else say I was “birding.” When I was asked, I said I was bird watching.

Birding must be in newer editions of dictionaries. Birding is now one of the most popular outdoor activities. A survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service several years ago found that there are more bird watchers than hunters and fishermen combined.

Again going back to when I was a boy, as a birder I was a loner. One grade school teacher I had was mildly interested in birds, and told me about a bird she had seen once in awhile. Occasionally a classmate went with me when I went walking along the river, looking for birds. But I carried a pair of field glasses and my companion usually carried a fishing pole and a can of worms.

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Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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