Saturday, June 18, 2016

Birth Of A Birdwatcher

It's no surprise to anyone who's read this blog that Cava loves birds. Once I asked him where his favorite place was (I'll admit, I expected him to say Disney World) and he answered, "Carolina Raptor Center."  He has wanted binoculars for some time, but every time he has gotten any money, he immediately wants to spend it. But I'm proud of him because he finally saved up enough so that we could get him a nice pair of binoculars (after explaining to him why it's better to spend more money and better quality binoculars than cheap ones that would break and he wouldn't really be able to see birds well). When the package arrived, Cava was elated and I promised him we could go on the nature walk of the Schiele to see what birds we could spot.

It was so much fun just watching him watch birds. He would get so excited, then he would shush us so as not to scare away any bird we came across. The first one we spotted was a Carolina Chickadee. Cava, who had read a kid's biography of John James Audubon, informed us that Audubon had named this bird when he was in South Carolina. I was impressed that he read and remembered that.

Along with the Carolina Chickadee, he saw a Blackbird, so of course we had to sing The Beatles' song of the same name, until we were shushed again for not being serious birdwatchers. Then he was beside himself when Benjamin pointed out two Red-tailed Hawks. "WOW!" Cava exclaimed quietly, which is a rarity for him. It was also amazing at how all of us just walked at a leisurely pace along the nature trail. Our whole family was caught up in trying to spot another bird,whether it was a Cardinal or a Blue Jay. What was great was that we were doing it as a family, spending time together without technology, out in nature. 

It was peaceful. Only the sound of birdsong in the trees, cicadas, and the gentle sound of the bubbling stream. My surroundings made me think of John Muir writing, "As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and wind sing . . . I'll get as near the heart of the world as I can." 

Taking a break from spotting birds and collecting feathers, we went into the Catawba Village. It was fun for the boys to see how people used to live when they settled this area. The small houses seem better suited to Cava . . .

. . . than for Benjamin . . .

I hated to leave, as it was nice to spend time together. Everybody got along and there was no arguing or complaining. We simply enjoyed being in each other's company. And it has only furthered Cava's love of birds and his desire to learn even more about them. Yes, a serious birder has been born.

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