A Beautiful renewal of spirit... when we were recommended a DVD called The Big Year: Starring; Mr. Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson by a fellow birder who insisted we watch this movie! My husband and I took one viewing of the "Extended Version"
Well we have watched this dvd many times since and always learn something new each and every time. It has since become one of our vast collection of favorite birding movies.
Please let me share with you a little information about me: I am now 60+ years young and in good health. I enjoy spending time with my husband, our dog and cat, as well as being outside enjoying what nature has blessed us with, fresh air, birds, butterflies, wildlife, warm sunny skies when it's not raining or too chilly. My beloved husband of 21 beautiful years is now 60 plus year's crusty on some days but I do love him with my whole being. He loves spending time with me and we never argue. He loves birding although he is legally blind.
Yes he does use a camera it just takes a lot of work and patience for him to take photos or making recordings of bird songs. He is learning to recognize birds by their beautiful songs and the symphonies they create which brings him/us such smiles and fills our hearts with overwhelming joy and peace.
Now I must share with you about another birder in our family, her name is Phee-Tee, she also enjoys watching birds from the many windows in our Florida home. She has done her best to read the many field guides and birding magazines that we have collected. She is now trying to master the use of binoculars which is a feat in and of itself. She has a good habit of waking us up at day break when she hears the first of many bird songs coming from our yard. Phee runs from one window to the next just as fast as her legs will take her. We don't mind because we love "Birding"! Oh by the way did I mention that Phee-Tee is our baby girl? And as you might have guessed our Cat... Now let me tell you about another wanna be birder, his name is Buddy the bed hog. He is five years old and a Boxer - Labrador who enjoys mostly sleeping on the wicker couch outdoors which sums him up in the nut shell.
We have many bird and butterfly feeders in the yard and yes for Hummingbirds too. We also have a raccoon named Rocky who enjoys eating the bird seed that is left by the birds in the middle of the night. We also have three Red Shouldered Hawks who spend time with us from time to time which is a wonder of nature in itself.
As you spend time on our web site you will find beautiful photos, Vast descriptions of some of the birds we have come across so far, Nesting habits, social behavior, mating rituals and migrations along with educational links to useful birding sites, field guides and equipment, rules for birding, proper attire for birding and other scientific information such as what do birds see ie a wide spectrum of colors including ultraviolet which humans can't see which is a bit sad for us who love birding but that's another story, and gives you the opportunity to do the research on your own as well as education is one of the vast keys to enjoy birding.
Retired Backyard Birders ©
Retired Backyard Birders of Florida USA. A retired grandparents club was created to promote universal access to all parks, facilities, services and resources for birders, watchers, twitchers, avian and professionals.
It is part of that mission to educate and share with the general public so that they understand that disability is not a function of an individual with impairments but a dysfunction of society in not catering for all types of needs.
We believe that anywhere there is ‘public access’ this MUST mean ALL of the public including all ethnicities, orientations, visual impairments, those with mobility issues and both genders etc. We are one of many Birding Clubs in America that specifically caters to disabled, avian, professional and recreational birders. We also contribute to bird habitat and conservation through many programs, clubs and bird conservation organizations.
Blind Birders Tip Sheet
Interacting with an individual who is blind:
Introduce yourself so the person will know your presence.
Remember be respectful and do not touch anyone's mobility equipment and/or speak to or startle any individual's service, guide or support animal without the owner's permission.
Never hesitate to offer your help at any time.
Don't be ashamed to use the word "blind" or to make references to seeing; it's unavoidable and won't hurt anyone's feelings.
To get a person's attention who is blind or visually impaired, call the individual by name.
It is okay to tap them on the shoulder as a hint to get their attention
Words like "Hey, Hey you, over here, over there" are not polite and have no meaning for people who are blind or visually impaired.
It's important to signal an individual who is blind or visually impaired when you are done with a conversation and when you are pulling away (such as "Well, now I will go."). Otherwise, they are likely to continue talking believing you are standing there which can be very embarrassing.
Walking with people who are blind or visually impaired:
To guide an individual, who is blind or visually impaired, offer your elbow to the individual and they will use a "glass milk" grip to walk by your side and slightly behind. This "glass milk" grab lets the person judge for him/herself when you are stepping up or down.
NEVER pull an individual to get them to walk. It's a very insecure feeling to be pushed/pulled, rather than led.
While walking, describe the terrain: open areas, objects, overhanging tree branches, ground cover, path, etc. on the way to reach a designated area. It is helpful to describe the type of path you and the individual will encounter as you approach it: bricks, pebbles, bumpy, uneven surfaces, etc.
When approaching a chair or a bench you can tap on the object loud enough for them to hear so that the individual can find it and seat themselves.
When encountering limbs or branches, individuals who are blind or visually impaired should be notified so they can protect their face. The same applies when approaching low-hanging objects that could potentially trip them.
When calling a person who is blind or visually impaired to join you, talk to them ("keep coming"), until they reach you. Be as specific as possible ("ten feet further", "walk straight", "turn left ninety degrees")
It is not helpful to call out, "come here", "over there", "turn there", etc. (these words don't have meaning to any direction)
Birding with People Who Are Blind:
When observing birds orient the group into a single file line and facing the same direction.
Use the hours of the clock to identify the position of a bird's call and avoid confusion. (Example: Did you hear that at 3 o'clock?")
Describe the bird's colors with references for the colors: "blue as the sky," "green as the grass", "yellow as the sun." This is particularly helpful for people who have been blind from birth and have no other frame of reference.
Describe other characteristics of the bird, "small as a mouse" or "as big as a chicken."
Detailed descriptions will help individuals to create an image in their head (especially those with previous vision; Example: "This is a light brownish color large bird with white thin stripes running down its back.")
If you have further questions about working with a person who is blind or visually impaired don't hesitate to ask them. They know that's why you're there and want you to feel comfortable learning about them.
Practice and promote respectful, enjoyable, and thoughtful birding as defined in this code.
Respect and promote birds and their environment:
Support the conservation of birds and their habitats. Engage in and promote bird-friendly practices whenever possible, such as keeping cats and other domestic animals indoors or controlled, acting to prevent window strikes, maintaining safe feeding stations, landscaping with native plants, drinking shade-grown coffee, and advocating for conservation policies. Be mindful of any negative environmental impacts of your activities, including contributing to climate change. Reduce or offset such impacts as much as you are able.
Avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger. Be particularly cautious around active nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display sites, and feeding sites. Limit the use of recordings and other audio methods of attracting birds, particularly in heavily birded areas, for species that are rare in the area, and for species that are threatened or endangered. Always exercise caution and restraint when photographing, recording, or otherwise approaching birds.
Always minimize habitat disturbance. Consider the benefits of staying on trails, preserving snags, and similar practices.
Respect and promote the birding community and its individual members:
Be an exemplary ethical role model by following this Code and leading by example. Always bird and report with honesty and integrity.
Respect the interests, rights, and skill levels of fellow birders, as well as people participating in other outdoor activities. Freely share your knowledge and experience and be especially helpful to beginning birders.
Share bird observations freely, provided such reporting would not violate other sections of this Code, as birders, ornithologists, and conservationists derive considerable benefit from publicly available bird sightings.
Approach instances of perceived unethical birding behavior with sensitivity and respect; try to resolve the matter in a positive manner, keeping in mind that perspectives vary. Use the situation as an opportunity to teach by example and to introduce more people to this Code.
In-group birding situations promote knowledge by everyone in the group of the practices in this Code and ensure that the group does not unduly interfere with others using the same area.
Respect and promote the law and the rights of others:
Never enter private property without the landowner’s permission. Respect the interests of and interact positively with people living in the area where you are birding.
Familiarize yourself with and follow all laws, rules, and regulations governing activities at your birding location. In particular, be aware of regulations related to birds, such as disturbance of protected nesting areas or sensitive habitats, and the use of audio or food lures.
Birding should be fun and help build a better future for birds, for birders, and for all people.
Birds and birding opportunities are shared resources that should be open and accessible to all.
Birders should always give back more than they take.