About the Accidental Birder
How it all happened.
Upon meeting my soon-to-be-in-laws, I was asked, “So, are you a birder?”
Sensing my hesitation, they all said in unison, as if they had rehearsed this before: “Well, you are now!” and they chuckled heartily.
So, since meeting my husband, I’ve become a birder. An accidental birder, at best. I can’t go all day like my husband can (how does he do that?) and I can’t name the species by sight, let alone by sound, like he can, but boy has it taken me out of my comfort zone and put me in places I never even thought of going to before like the Amazon, Galapagos Islands, the Andes and even undiscovered places in my own hometown.
I’ve taken up photography, mostly because if we’re going to be out all day looking for birds I might as well capture a snap or two. It’s not a surprise that we married in the Spring because that’s a good time to celebrate anniversaries by taking vacations when migration occurs. (That was the husband’s master plan, natch.)
My day job is working in Corporate America, and my hiking shoes sit right next to my Jimmy Choos. It’s the perfect blend for a balanced life and you’ll never find me at the end of the year holding a bunch of unused vacation days because there are birds to be found and fresh air to be breathed.
This blog, hopefully, will help others who are a lot like me understand more about birds and what they contribute to this world. And if I can convert one or two new birders along the way that would be great.
Sometimes accidents happen for a reason.
There’s a memoir in the works.
Two things happened in 2020, which changed the trajectory of my writing: COVID-19 kept us all bound to our homes and I started to write more. It started with travel writing workshops where I would gather with a group of eight other writers and worked on an essay for each 6-8 week workshop. Then I received some shattering health news and realized, All this may come to a screeching halt–all this traveling and birding and discovery about myself.
Steve and I adjusted our bucket list of places we wanted to explore. Well, as soon as we could travel again once there was a vaccine and once we all are able to crawl out of the COVID-19 nightmare. Places we were thinking of putting off until my retirement now rose higher on our list. And then one morning I awoke and realized it was time to put all this into a book.
The memoir shows how being dragged into my partner’s weird hobby has turned out to be magical. Pulling back the curtain and entering into this world of birds not only took me to extraordinary places, but it taught me that I was braver than I thought, challenging me all along the way. Readers will be able to experience my growth as I discover new places and new birds.
There are many books written by birders about birding, but this book is different because I am not an experienced or knowledgable birder or ornithologist. My memoir is a story about birds, learning about oneself and love. And that hope is truly the thing with feathers.
Thanks for visiting my blog. I didn’t see a comment block on your post or a “like” button, but I wanted to tell you that I did like it!
Hey Lisa, thanks for visiting Simple Speedy Snacks. I also like birds! Great blog!
Thanks for visiting kenyabirding. I am going to let Joseph reply to your post about Lake Baringo history and birding on his “about”, but I thought I’d sneak on and leave you a quick note as I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog posts. I am Joseph’s friend and am actually from Ontario and am living and working in Kenya (why your post about Point Pelee caught my eye!). I have also somewhat become an accidental birder recently due to Joseph and assist with some blog editing and photography! As I am new to this whole birding world, I got a good chuckle about your lens envy as I have definitely experienced this being around birders in Kenya!
Look forward to reading more of your posts on your accidental birding adventure!
Lonnie, that’s super that you’re from Ontario. So is my husband! (Toronto to be exact.)
Hi Lisa, thanks for liking my snpwy owl blog post! Nice photo of snowy egrets and great egret here,
Thank you Petrel41. I shot that photo (snowy egrets and great egret) on our last day in Belize at Crooked Tree right before leaving for the airport. Has turned out to be my favorite photo from the whole trip. Crooked Tree is a very special place. Well, all of Belize is very special.
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Lisa, I love to read all your postings. You are a great writer…and fun, too. I especially like reading about Beny and his life as a birding guide. Very interesting. Keep it up. Thanks. Melinda in Maryland
I meant to write a comment on your reports of the Panama adventure back a few posts ago. I love what you are doing with the blog, and really appreciated the interview with your guide and tips for birding spots in Panama. We visited there in February and lucked into a fantastic bird guide in Panama City. So if you go again, look up Mario Greco. You can read about our day with him on my blog post at http://bybio.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/birding-with-mario/
Sue, thank you for your kind words. So glad to hear that you are liking the blog. And thanks for the link to your report from Panama. Your photos are great!
I have nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Please see this link at http://wp.me/piVRT-2M6 Congratulations!
Why thank you very much!
Hi Ms. Boice, good news!
I am nominating your blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
The rules of the blog are at
You already got a nomination for this, but I think you deserve more 🙂
Why, thank you very much!
Well deserved 🙂
Hi there, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award: http://sunshinescrapbook.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/ooh-yippee-another-award/
That’s very kind of you!
dare I ask how many bird species you’ve seen in the wild? 🙂
I honestly don’t have a list. I’ve been ticking them off in our field guides–I suppose I should count them. I asked Steve, my husband who’s the “real hard-core” birder in the household and he estimates about 1000.
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oh my! I’ve just crossed my #133 bird species … I can’t even imagine 1,000 … I have a LONG way to go! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I noticed your list of U.S. Birding trips does not include Alabama. May I encourage you to research Dauphin Island, Alabama for a future spring migration hot spot! You can take the ferry from there to Fort Morgan for more birding. Just a thought…. 🙂
Angie, what a great suggestion! Now that we’re living in Texas (having just arrived here this past Spring) Alabama will be quite easy to get to. Thanks for recommending!
I just discovered your blog and enjoyed the few posts I read. I was curious what type of camera equipment you use? The type of lenses and base, if you don’t mind sharing. I think you have some great pictures and am trying to improve my photography ability. I currently have a 70-300 sigma lens and I have some nice pictures of birds, but I can never get them as crisp as yours. Or what appears to be, as close to them as you. Any tips you may have would also be appreciated.
Hi Zach, thanks for dropping by. I use the Nikon D7000 and I started with the 70-300 Nikkor lens, but found a terrific AF-S 70-200 4G ED Nikkor lens that has beautiful glass and found that it takes sharper photos than my 70-300, especially when cropping in. I’m not a great or well-practiced photographer and would prefer not to crop in, but I do so in order to get a good look at the detail of the birds and I’ve found this 70-200 lens is great at that. With that said, I’m very interested in the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens. I have a friend who has this and she’s been taking beautiful photos with it and I’ve seen other posts by folks who are using this lens. It’s about $1000 but worth it. (Other comparable lenses would be around $4000.) It’s a bit hefty at over 4 lbs (1951 grams), which is why my friend uses a monopod with it. You can find that lens for both Nikon, Sony and Canon cameras. All the best! -Lisa
Hi Ms. Boice,
Sorry to contact you here, I couldn’t find any contact info on your blog.
I works for Bel-Rea, one of the largest Vet Tech Schools in the country. Our Vet Tech students devote their lives to helping animals and your blog has been an entertaining and inspirational source for many of our students who focus their studies particularly on birds. Because of this, you’ve been voted into our top 25 Bird Bloggers of 2015.
In particular, you make the world of birds so entertaining and interesting. Many of our students, like you, weren’t born with an innate love for birds but acquire it through experiences with our feathered friends. Many of them end up working in wild life refuges and vet offices, even watching over the welfare of the birds for events like the humming bird banding you participated in (which had the best photos, by the way).
As part of being named as Bel-Rea’s top 25 Bird bloggers, we’re proud to give you this badge to place on your website. When you place the badge, please link it to this page: http://belrea.edu/blog/the-top-25-bird-blogs/. We’d love if you could also write a post about being featured. I know many of our students would be excited to see their school being mentioned on your blog. In that post, It’d be a huge help for me if you could mention the words “bird blogs” and link that specific phrase to this page: http://belrea.edu/blog/the-top-25-bird-blogs/.
Since I don’t have your email, I’ve attached the link to your Top Bird Blogger Badge here: http://belrea.edu/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/BelRea_Badge_150x150.png
If you have any questions, just let me know.
Thank you for all your dedicated work and congratulations,
Bel-Rea Vet Tech College
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Such an honor! Let me think about what I’m going to write. (I’ve actually been slow at blogging lately since our move here to Texas. I’m still unpacking.)
Greetings! Your buddy Amber Wood suggested I contact you–my family is also new to Texas, and I’m also a newbie birder. We live on a lake in College Station (home of Texas A&M), so lots of water birds and raptors here…if you’re ever up this way, gimme a shout!
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Hello Hennel! What a small world! And you aren’t too far from us. Are you going to go to the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival? It’s in early November and one of the best bird festivals in the country. We will definitely have to connect some time. And welcome to Texas!
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Just a quick mail to let you know that I featured you in a recent article named:
31 Pet Blogs You Need To Follow In 2016.
Here’s a link to the article:
I’ve also made a special badge for you here:
Feel free to download and use it anywhere you wish!
Once again, I hope your inclusion in the list drives some new readers to your blog and I look forward to staying connected!
Well if your life doesn’t sound a whole lot like mine!
I’m an accidental birder too and I’ve always wondered how many people out there in the world can balance a “normal” life with a crazy birding life.
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I don’t know that mine’s balanced, but I’m trying. I just retired a couple months ago so I might find the scales tipped a little more toward birding. 😉