When you suddenly gain the ability to know the names of all the birds in your neighborhood. . .to enliven a February walk
When a person turns a certain age, maybe 35, certain topics suddenly become inexplicably fascinating.
For instance, birds.
Years ago (before we were 35), my husband had the day off from his Army training one Saturday morning outside Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. We decided to go on a guided hike at a nature preserve. At the meeting point, the leader opened with “I know that most of you are here to see the Elegant Trogan. . .” Andrew and I (with my young baby strapped to my chest) looked at each other quizzically and then we looked around. We were the only ones without salt and pepper hair and without binoculars rigged on harnesses. We seemed to be in the company of people with a particular set of skills. . .our leader used a signaling mirror like a laser pointer to indicate trees. And a particular focus. . .turns out southern Arizona is the only place in the US to see the Elegant Trogan. Sighting this rare bird was a lifetime dream of these birders. I hoped that my baby’s squawks wouldn’t scare away this mystically-named bird. Only a few of the experienced birders did see the Elegant Trogan, but we all got a taste of serendipity that day.
Recently a young dad in my Bradley birth class introduced the other expectant parents and me to a bird identification ap called Merlin (named for a small falcon), and we were all so glad to have this extra incentive to go for a walk outdoors.
Merlin is like google translate for bird calls. It has made me aware of calls that I’ve heard for years but could not identify, and truly snaps me into the moment.
When you’re expecting a baby, walking in nature has so many benefits. It’s easier to be in the moment and let go of any worries. You can remember that nature accomplishes work without technology. Nature has rhythms that can’t control and that we must respect. Somehow this can bring perspective to a pregnancy.
The merlin ap adds extra motivation to help pregnant parents take the time to go on a walk.
Just be sure to not only download the ap but also download the “sound pack” for your region once you open the ap while you are still on wifi. When you do this you can start using it the very first time you take it for a walk!
February is a great time to learn about birds in your neighborhood or a nearby park because you can spot birds more easily before the leaves come out!
I think it’s fair to say that no matter your age, the Merlin ap and being able to know the names of the birds creating the beautiful songs makes walks more satisfying.