People always ask me why I like bird watching. And depending on my mood of the day, my answer varies.

A friend came over the other day, and the first thing he said to me was that he liked the intoBirds’ website.

That made me happy. We put considerable effort into making intoBirds a site where people can go who enjoy reading stories about remarkable people inspired by birds.

When he told me that intoBirds.com is the startup page on his computer that made my day.

But more importantly, it took him talking to me about the birds to notice how many people are into bird watching.

I’m glad I helped enlighten him and bring awareness to just how many people are into birds.

American Kestrels are in declining numbers in the northeast and providing nest boxes has helped populations in some areas

American Kestrels are in declining numbers in the northeast and providing nest boxes has helped populations in some areas

How Many Bird Watchers?

Just how many bird watchers are there?

More than 45 million people.

That’s right, more than 45 million people watch birds around their homes and away from home, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s preliminary findings of the  2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

And if you’re reading this, you’re probably into birds so let me congratulate you for being a bird watcher and helping to contribute nearly $80 billion to the U.S. economy.

That’s right. We love birds so much it adds up to $80 billion to the economy.

So, it got me thinking about why I enjoy bird watching so much and why I’m into birds.

Well, there are many adjectives to describe birds.

Birds are beautiful, mysterious, fierce, quirky, inspirational, fascinating, colorful, intelligent, playful and frightening all wrapped up in one.

I often refer to birds as artwork with wings.

Thoreau the Bird Watcher

Henry David Thoreau famously set the tone for all future bird watchers when he said that he could spend from dawn till noon sitting in his doorway surrounded by trees and birds.

Well said.

Henry David Thoreau said he could spend from dawn till noon sitting in his doorway surrounded by trees and birds

Henry David Thoreau said he could spend from dawn till noon sitting in his doorway surrounded by trees and birds

If this were Instagram, I’d give Thoreau’s photo a quick tap and show my appreciation with a heart and a thumb’s up emoji.

Thoreau also said, “The Bluebird carries the sky on his back.”

I’d probably modify that quote today and say, “The Bluebird carries the sky on its back,” to be pronoun friendly.

But we get the point.

Being outside and immersed in nature, we just don’t look at things. We see things.

So what is it about bird watching?

Reasons to Love Bird Watching

Here are eight reasons why I love bird watching.

I love the mystery of the unknown.

Every day you wake up and don’t know what kind of bird you might see that day.

It’s the mystery of what each day will bring. You can’t plan for it, and if a rarity happens to cross your path, you’re thankful for having your binoculars and camera in the car to enjoy the moment.

It's exciting to capture a moment like this when a pair of Barred Owls cross your path in the woods

It’s exciting to capture a moment like this when a pair of Barred Owls cross your path in the woods

I love that bird watching connects me with nature.

It gets me outside and helps me appreciate all the things I’ve taken for granted in the past. The blue sky, sun, trees, plants, animals and reveal in each of the four seasons and how everything links together to form the circle of life.

Although I don’t enjoy getting bitten by bugs, especially ticks, you realize that those annoying critters serve as a significant food source for many birds.

I love that bird watching appeals to my sense of adventure and exploration.

I’m one of those crazy people who finds excitement in danger and uses the ‘try it out’ way of learning.

The unknown? I say bring it. It can’t be that much worse than the known, and it just might happen to better.

So, trekking rugged terrains for miles for the chance to see a bird might be crazy to some, but again I thrive on the unknown.

Bird watching gives you a great reason to explore the world.

Bird watching makes you wish you had wings to fly off like this Great Blue Heron go wherever your wings can take you

Bird watching makes you wish you had wings to fly off like this Great Blue Heron go wherever your wings can take you

I love that bird watching satiates my competitive drive.

Even though you can enjoy birds alone or with others, it’s exciting to be the first to find a specific bird and tell others so they can enjoy seeing that bird too.

I love that bird watching is the catalyst for meeting new, exciting people.

\Whether I meet people while leading bird walks, in the hunt to see a new bird, or when interviewing people to profile on intoBirds, I enjoy learning something new from each person and hopefully leave them with a little pearl of wisdom too.

I love that bird watching is everywhere.

I joked with my friend Romana that we should go bird watching in the garbage dump, the cemetery or the dumpsters behind stores and seeing that glimmer in her eyes and agreeing with me, “Yes, let’s go bird watching in the dump!” appeals to my crazy sense of adventure.

You can bird watch everywhere. The birds are all around us. And they’re free. But you’ll probably end up buying some seed or peanuts to keep your feathered friends happy.

A Great White Egret can show up in the most unexpected places. And best of all, nature is free to enjoy

A Great White Egret can show up in the most unexpected places. And best of all, nature is free to enjoy

I love that bird watching lets you use your camera or iPhone for taking photographs that are meaningful.

These captures then make their way to your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram timeline and make your photos less about taking selfies and more about what you see and experience.

You set the narrative of the story you are telling, and you don’t have to be the star, just the narrator.

I love that bird watching helps you live in the moment.

When I’m out bird watching, I turn my phone off and get caught up in the moment and feel like I’m watching a movie play out with me in a starring role. (Think Cecilia in the Purple Rose of Cairo).

I forget about everything else.

And then nature becomes more apparent to you, and you can hear a tree fall over in the woods.

Bird watching let's you live in the moment like this Double-crested Cormorant shown in the spread-wing posture "sunbathing" to dry its wings

Bird watching let’s you live in the moment like this Double-crested Cormorant shown in the spread-wing posture “sunbathing” to dry its wings

You might feel despair at times, but then all of a sudden like magic the most magnificent winged creature appears lifting your spirits and helping you reflect on living in the moment. You’re enjoying life.

So those are my eight reasons why I love bird watching.

Now tell me your reasons why you love to bird watch.

Use our CONNECT form and shoot me a quick message, comment below or give us a shout out on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and tell me why you love bird watching, and I’ll share them in a follow-up story about why YOU love to bird watch.

Now get out and see birds and #coexist!

Renee