Birding: Better Than Netflix and Other Stories From Our Members

More than 100 people shared their favorite summertime bird memories.

Earlier in the year, we asked some of our most loyal supporters (who had also opted in to participate in a donor insight survey) to share their favorite story or experience involving birds in the summertime. More than 115 members shared with us a personal story or something they saw or heard.

Here are eight of our favorites:

“I had a wonderful encounter with a lovely hummingbird yesterday. I was in my herb garden, standing quietly, looking at the flowers, when one started enjoying the nectar from one of my flowers. It hovered so close, I could see all its feathers, hear it, and could have touched it. The little lady stopped, hovered, looked me right in the eye, and then flitted away. We had quite the meeting of the minds.”

“I live in the city with a bird bath and a bird feeder. Last summer, two baby robins were playing in my birdbath, taking their wings and sweeping water in each others' faces. Laughing. Yes, I swear they were laughing.”

"For 26 years living in my house I had never had nesting Brown Thrashers until this year. I was thrilled! One evening, I peered out to see an adult prancing back and forth in front of my garage door with a worm in beak. Back and forth, back and forth. I was perplexed but as it grew darker the Thrasher disappeared. The next morning I went out to go to work and opened the garage door to find a very annoyed Brown Thrasher fledgling in the rafters. Was he or she mad? I tried to coax him out to no avail, so I called work and told them I would be late and waited and waited. Soon the adult showed up with worm in beak and out came the fledgling. A disaster averted. Now when I park my car I look carefully in the rafters before closing the door."

"Birding is for lovers. I've had a great time introducing a date to birding this summer. It is great to go out in nature and show somebody that the world of birding is much more diverse than they thought. It is particularly sweet to buy a thoughtful gift of feeders. It is great to have discussions of ‘who came to visit today?’, ‘what kind of drama may have happened with the residents?’, or ‘who was missing?’. It is more meaningful than what happened on Netflix."

“This past July, my husband, daughter, and I traveled from California to visit Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. While waiting for the toll booth to open at the bottom of the highway, we met a couple from Florida who were also birders. It turned out that all of us were hoping to see, or at least hear, a Bicknell's Thrush. We caravaned up the mountain, stopping at various pullouts and enjoying the birdscapes along the way. It was a very hot day, and bird activity was pretty low by the time we reached the Lake Placid Turn pullout. Two of us thought we heard a Bicknell's Thrush singing among the Swainson's Thrushes, but couldn't confirm it, and the others in the group hadn't heard it at all. After a trip to the top of the mountain, we returned to the Lake Placid Turn hoping for better luck. We waited, and then waited some more. Patience paid off. Eventually, a couple of us heard it's song, and then one of the Florida birders spotted a Bicknell's Thrush perched on a bare branch just downhill from us. Amazing! Everyone was able to see it. The bird sang from it's perch for almost 10 minutes, and then moved to another perch further away before disappearing from sight. It was an incredible moment, and sharing it with other birders made it that much more special.”

“I have a wren house on a post that has a trumpet vine growing up and around it. I got to watch a male Carolina Wren start a nest and the female come and check it out a number of times. It met her satisfaction and soon there were tiny peeps coming from the house and both mom and dad were constant suppliers of food. One day a male sparrow decided the top of the wren house was where he needed to sit and sing! I watched the pair of wrens team tag this sparrow by dive bombing him and about every third time, he’d fly off only to return, again and again. This went on for over twenty minutes when the sparrow finally must have decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and took off. At this point mom went back in the house and dad sat on top where the sparrow had been and sang his little heart out. Drama in my own backyard! I loved it!

“While rafting on the Colorado River, seeing two Golden Eagles exhibiting feeding eaglet behaviors in May on the Colorado River. One of the beautiful things about it was that my nine year old granddaughter, who is an avid birder, was the first person on the boat to hear, then to spot the eagles. My children, grandchildren and I are all bird watchers. We visit state parks, national parks and instill a deep love and respect for all natural places and all wildlife. We often look for birds in our neighborhoods. We all feed hummingbirds. In the current political climate, that is important.”

“This month in the Tetons we spread some of my Mom's ashes in a lake she loved. We went out early in the morning in a canoe and kayak and as we started to spread her ashes 15 Common Mergansers came over from the bank they were taking cover in and sort of paid their respects getting very close to us. When we were done they all drifted off down the lake. My wife, daughter and I all took comfort from their company. Some of my fondness memories our watching birds with my Mom. I took it as a good omen.”

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