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Stand-still Birding

Take time to observe birds in their own world

While full-speed-ahead birding can mean spotting a large number of species, there's quiet joy in stand-still birding. Pick a place-forest, field, or marsh. Find a seat that's dry, and hold your binoculars to your eyes. Be still and blend in. After perhaps twenty minutes, birds accept you as part of the landscape and go back to the business of being birds. You might even see a bird like this female Anna's Hummingbird fly to its secret nest. 
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Full Transcript


Stand-still Birding

Written by Ellen Blackstone

This is BirdNote!

While the energy and momentum of full-speed-ahead birding [Roadrunner’s roar and beep-beep] can mean sighting a large number of species, there’s quiet joy in stand-still birding. 

[Bugs Bunny pastoral music: William Tell overture.]

Pick a place—forest, field, or marsh; then find a seat that’s preferably dry; and blend in. Sitting with your back against a tree is especially good. Be still. After perhaps twenty minutes, birds accept you as part of the landscape, and go back to their bird business—eating, courting, feeding their young. Like this secretive Swainson’s Thrush…

[Swainson’s Thrush song]

If you start with your binoculars held up almost to your eyes, you won’t need to make any sudden movement. Slow movement – or no movement – is the key. Perhaps you’ll spot a female hummingbird, flying back to her secret nest.

[Buzzing of wings of Anna’s Hummingbird]

Some birds may be curious and come quite near, allowing you a better look.

This is not about logging species, but about close and contemplative observation. Call it “Zen birding” or “The Big Sit”—you become part of the birds’ world.

[Mixture of birds calling at dawn]

BirdNote writers include Ellen Blackstone, Bob Sundstrom, Todd Peterson, Dennis Paulson, and Chris Peterson. For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann. 

[Mixture of birds calling at dawn]


Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Swainson’s Thrush recorded by G.A. Keller; wings of the Anna’s Hummingbird by A.A. Allen

Dawn Song recorded by Martyn Stewart of

”William Tell Overture” by Gioacchino Rossini (taken from “Bambi Meets Godzilla”, Marv Newland, 1969)

Theme music composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2013 Tune In to  May 2018  Narrator: Mary McCann.

ID# 051906stillKPLU birding-04b

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