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

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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