Growing up, I was never interested in ornithology. Honestly, I am still not that interested in it. I would have gotten more into it if it had not been for this one homeschooled kid who bragged about being an ornithologist.
I was a college student and he was still in high school. Somehow we were in the same place at the same time one day. He mentioned to me and a few others that he was an ornithologist. It was not a field that I particularly cared for, so I just sort of nodded politely.
He thought I did not understand the word, so he explained in a patronizing tone, “That means I am a bird watcher.” I almost said, “Hey, I knew what you meant! We say ‘ornitolog’ and ‘ornitologie’ in Romanian. It’s a Romance language and most Latin-based words in English are very closely related to what we say…”
But I figured he was too smug to listen to me at that point. Plus I make it a point to be humble especially when other people are not. Anyway, we all have days when we are not exactly at our most beautiful self, so I decided to not be less-than-beautiful back.
However, that distasteful episode sat with me for years. When I had my own children and the thought of homeschooling started creeping in, this young man with his ornithological pride and smugness came to mind and I thought, “There’s no way! I do not want my kids to end up like that! Watching birds and proud of it to the teeth! As if we got nothing better to do…”
God worked with me for two years and I finally relented, agreed to homeschool and the rest is history. Bird watching is something we do now and then, as we drive, hike, or look out the window at our house. We have not taken any trips specifically to bird watch. There is a birding park about 50 minutes from our house and I plan to go there one day, but I don’t have specific plans.
Meanwhile, we watch the humming birds, blue jays, cardinals, robins, crows and different birds of prey flying around our house. This year, we spotted a family of cardinals making a nest (especially the female) and then we saw them with a little one, teaching him to fly or supervising his moves at least.
The female has started sitting on the eggs. When she flew away for a few minutes, I was able to take a picture of the three speckled eggs sitting in her nest. She is back at it again and we try not to bother her. It looks like we have 11-13 days of waiting before the eggs will hatch. I am having the kids keep a log so we can make it into a science learning experience.
After all, it’s right in our front yard. But I am not smug about it. There is a difference between sharing and bragging. I do not intend to brag about anything, especially not about ornithology.