I often marvel at the great lengths that people will go to in order to see birds.

Distance and time become insignificant. Someone the bank balance stretches to fit the birds that need to be added to list.

Early mornings.

Late Nights.

Endless kilometers of tarmac travelled all in pursuit of a feathered find, a tick on a list, and experience to be shared.

Over the years that I have been a birder, there have always been two struggles I have had – funds and time. I have been able to do some special trips with good friends – but the higher my list has climbed (and to clarify, my list is a sand-castle compared to other people’s Everest), I have found it harder and harder to get to be able to travel o see the birds that other people are adding to their lists.

I have had to make sacrifices – weighing up the temporal thrill of a twitch – with experiences that would add a lot more weight of significance in the greater scheme of things.

I did a grand total of one day of birding in December – this is because I had to save money to be able to go on the Flock to Marion Cruise. Yes, my year list suffered – but I can experience something that I may never experience again.

I am happy for those that have the capacity to travel and experience the birds they do – social media has allowed me a window into their experiences for which I am grateful.

But I have had to shift my focus…the rare birds’ groups are on silence for now (so there will be no F.O.M.O), and I have simply decided to put more energy into my local area. Last year I was able to see 342 species of birds, and most of those were close to where I stay (208 in my immediate area, and many more within 30kms of my home pentad).

This year my plan is to simply make the most of every experience that I get to enjoy when I am out birding. I am not going to define my journey by someone else’s life list. I will celebrate what others get to experience, while at the same time making the most of my journey as a birder. I will enjoy slow sunrises, drinking in every drip of the sunshine as it floods my soul. I will enjoy the shade beneath fruiting trees listening to and enjoying the songs that fill the air. I will learn to breathe deep and remain present when I am out in the field, allowing nature and its splendor to overwhelm my senses.

I will learn to slow dance with nature and birds that she allows me to enjoy.

Slow Dance – David L. Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

Curated from Adam at the Birding Life