Nature Notes: My big year

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Above is the stately American robin, a proud, perching bird that I've seen a thousand times. But I'm a birder now -- a little obsessed, I might add, though in the world of birding that seems redundant. One of my New Year's Resolutions, the ones I make in February and actually keep, is to view 100 species before December.

I like the American robin, the proud bird with its bright orange chest puffed to fend off the cold, because it's one I've seen a thousands times. Never again will I take it for granted. It, like the Canada goose and the American crow, can be found just by looking out a window. You don't even need a bird feeder.

I've found what millions have already found: Birding requires nothing more than looking. As an outdoor columnist, my desires skew towards the more adventurous, to the solitary worlds, to the places that have not been cemented and sanitized. But birding is a reminder that wild things thrive. It is thought that the American crow wasn't overcome by urban sprawl, but that it came to the city for its own safety. They were once hunted by the bagful, but in the city, there were no guns.

So it is in the world of birds: peculiar, intriguing, full of good stories. That's how I hope to bring birding to this blog. I'll share with you the ones I've seen (American robin, by the way), the ones I long to see (American kestrel) and those familiar ones that are never just so.

So far I've seen and identified about 11 species in Central Ohio, simply by walking around my neighborhood and trekking through a Metro Park. See some of my favorite shots after the jump.