I was late becoming a birder. Oh, there was always some interest, but never strong. It was just a another feature of nature, that I, as a biologist and naturalist, wanted to have some familiarity. My real focus was on herps, reptiles and amphibians. Actually, it started with snakes, gradually began to include lizards, then turtles and on to frogs, toads & salamanders. Mammals were in the picture, too. By the time I was around 12 or 13, my bedroom and backyard was like a zoo - cages and aquariums everywhere. I didn't ignore birds for I did come up with lots of "abandoned" birds that I ended up raising. Of course, I know now that few of those birds were really abandoned, but was ignorant of that fact then. I "raised" a couple of Blue Jays, a Mockingbird, two Crows, a Turkey Vulture, and numerous Sparrows.
Later, as a biology student and then as a biologist, I was in the field a lot. While none of my work involved birds, I always made a point of getting to know the local species. Honestly, all I cared about were the more commonly seen species and it was just a mild curiosity.
I should add that I was doing a lot of photography back then as well. Birds were rarely a target for my cameras. I was mainly taking slides and photos of herps, flowers, insects, spiders and lots of scenics. Most of my gear was suited for closeup photography and not birding.
I have mentioned "my" Mockingbird here before. He used to land on my hand and eat live mealworms from my open palm.
I have also complained about his lack of success in finding a mate. He sang continuously - including all night long, until he finally attracted a little grey feathered cutie.
Today, he has been having a fit - really aggressive with other birds on the feeders (ten feet from his nest). He has been chasing the cat next door. He attacked the squirrels when they came to feed today. And when the little boy up the hill walked by, the Mockingbird popped him in the back of the head twice. As usual, he didn't pay much attention to me when I was out and let me take his picture as usual from about six feet away. But when the little boy up the hill walked by, the Mockingbird popped him in the back of the head twice.
Glorious Springtime is in full swing here in the Piney Woods of East Texas. While every season has its fine characteristics, nothing beats Spring for the welcome return of blossom colors, breeding season bird song, and balmier temperatures. The sun's rising arc, shining through the new tree foliage, with its resulting shadow play on everything below it, just makes our landscapes fresh and new again. The birds seem to echo this joy in the long, magnificent birdsong we hear daily now. The time has come for the birds' pairing up, male and female, and the nest building has begun.