I have always, always loved the expression “having a bird.” It really doesn’t make much sense and it’s now super antiquated, but every time I hear it I laugh like a drain.
I also really love birds, so when Marc asked me if I wanted to go on an afternoon date to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, I knew that it would be a perfect fit. For my last post this month with Live Out There I wrote about this amazing spot and two other places, perfect for a day with the ducks.
Going to the Birds
One of the great things about winter on the West Coast of Canada is that, unlike most of our Canadian countrymen and women, we are not buried under multiple feet of snow. In the absence of this seasonal staple, we are afforded some fantastic, though lesser thought of seasonal activities.
For instance, birding is often seen as something specific to the 60+ age set, when in reality it is a fantastic way to spend a crisp, sunny winter afternoon here in the BC Lower Mainland. In fact, Vancouver and its environs are home to a number of amazing places perfect for a long walk, hike, or bike ride, spent spotting and marveling at our feathered friends.
Continue reading about three areas perfect for an afternoon of birding about here.
This weekend Mr. M and I trekked out to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, for an afternoon of water fowl and barnyard owls.
(Unfortunately, sightings of our flexible-necked friends were few and far between.)
We did however, espy a few swallows, a couple of herons, many, MANY ducks (mallards and otherwise), and a crap load of other birds I don’t know the names of, because who the heck do I look like people?
(I kid, I kid. Except not at all about knowing anything about the different species of birds I encountered. About that I seriously do know squat.)
It was a truly gorgeous afternoon – blue skies, brilliant sunshine – although the wind was a little snappish; I could feel each gust of cold sea air nibbling at my ear lobes, nose, my fingertips, and toes.
I was super thankful for my last minute decision to bring my winter coat, but even with the extra layer, I walked around with my arms speckled with gooseflesh (how appropriate for the venue, no?) for the majority of the time we were there.
However, when you’re strolling around a nature reserve, surrounded by hilarious, chirping, feathered creatures, your “problems” are put into perspective pretty darn quickly.
I sometimes have a really hard time visiting places like this because I get so over wrought with need to SAVE ALL THE BIRDS the world over.
(This reaction is much the same to the one I wrote about last week. See: Ethel v. SPCA adoption website.)
It’s also intrinsically tied to the paralysis I undergo every time I take out my recycling and see, once again, that the tone deaf dirt bags that live in my complex have once again placed their recyclables in the bin, in a bloody plastic bag.
For serious, one day someone is going to find my body, dead, splayed about on the ground in front of the blue boxes, empty cans in hand. I will have passed over to the other side from a complete and utter rage out (combined with a complete lack of understanding) over why someone would do this.
I mean – HOW LAZY CAN YOU POSSIBLY BE THAT YOU CANNOT JUST EMPTY THE CANS OR BOTTLES FROM THE PLASTIC BAG INTO THE BLUE BOX?
Yesterday Mr. M found a broken toaster in the recycle bin.
A TOASTER! AND IT WAS IN A PLASTIC BAG!
Okay, I need to take it easy. My heart probably shouldn’t be pumping this fast.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Seriously though, what the heck is the point of “recycling” if you’re not going to do it right? Wouldn’t it actually be better if they just threw everything into the trash, because at least that way they wouldn’t be buggering it up for the rest of us that actually, you know, care?
I thought about these indolent bastards as I walked about the park (but just for a little while – I didn’t want to give them too much airtime, or the satisfaction of ruining my entire afternoon.)
But then I started to think about how if the people who already inhabit the earth don’t care, what kind of destruction will the planet oversee when we have an even greater population of (I’m afraid to even imagine) people who care even less?
And then I thought about how many species of birds will be around for my children? Or their children?
Will this amazing bird sanctuary be a moot point because we’ve annihilated everything that would be targeted to live and thrive within the reserve itself?
My heart grew heavier and heavier just thinking about it all.
But then M took my hand, and we say on a bench and ate some grapes, and I slowly started to feel better.
This heaviness I felt was gradually offset by a new set of competing factors and thoughts – indeed it became harder and harder to imagine such a dark world, because everything and everyone I was encountering at the park was the complete antithesis of that humanity and ecological peril I was fearing.
There were so many families out together – parents, children, grandparents, babies – teaching, watching, talking, learning about the different plant life, the insects, and course all the birds – calling out to the chickadees, and marveling at the swooping, circling falcons, feeding the ducks, and laughing at the geese.
There were exchange students with guide books, young couples on early spring dates, long-time husband and wife duos, and bird watching aces with camera lenses the width of my living room.
There were so many people, out enjoying the sun, basking in the beauty of the day, the park, the birds – the earth.
That it gave me hope.
And continues to give me hope.
It gives me hope that the Reifel sanctuary will be here for years to come.
And that out there people actually know how to properly dispose of toasters.