A Well Placed Sign

I think one of the reasons I am drawn to birding is the ever increasing challenge inherit in the activity. Like my other favorite pastime, running, the barrier to entry is pretty low. If you want to get started in running, all you really need to do is grab your favorite pair of sneakers, lace them on and pretty much go. Over time that gets to be easy so you think to yourself, maybe I will go further or perhaps try to go a bit faster the next time. Complete that bump in ability and next thing you know you are training for a marathon or some other crazy running related activity – wrapped up in all of this is the ongoing investment in tailored shoes, technical clothing and of course new breakthroughs in hydration and fuel.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker discovered at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in January 2017

Compare that to birding. To get started, all you really need is to … well, go outside and look. There are very few places that are inhabitable, that doesn’t have at least one bird to look at if even a House Sparrow or Crow. Like Running, the desire to do more starts creeping in so you expand your circle and start acquiring a few reference books. Eventually you are planning your vacations around a particular bird and invested in some serious photography equipment. The challenge has escalated to getting a better shot of a bird or properly identifying a never seen before species. In Running and in Birding, the thrill of the accomplishment is the fuel that keeps the interest revving.

Sounds impressive doesn’t it – the struggle of man vs wild, overcoming incredible obstacles to get the shot and burning the midnight oil pouring through reference books barely able to keep the lids open enough to compare your blurry image to the hand drawn reference. That may be true for some situations, but don’t be fooled, there are times like this that are embarrassingly easy.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker discovered at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in January 2017

Hit the jump to find out what this new bird is!

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