Resolutions for a new column year
October 6,2006
Common Ravens
Common Ravens
A year ago this week the first "Bird Is A Verb" column appeared in this space.  I don't do well with anniversaries.  They clash with the cup-half-empty facet of my personality which always reminds me I could have done more or I could have done it better.  I've received a lot of feedback about the column, all positive.  But maybe I'm just "preaching to the choir."

In that first column, birding as a pathway back to nature, I guessed many of you might rather be jogging some distant ridgeline, atlatl in hand, than standing in line at the neighborhood grocery.  I want to reach those who think "ridgeline" is just Honda's hot new truck, those who have no clue that an "atlatl" was a prehistoric weapon, and those for whom grocery shopping is their weekly "outing."

If you're already a birder and have enjoyed the sermons, here's your resolution for my column's new year--get a non-birding friend or relative hooked on the outdoors.

Got grandchildren who can't tear away from the computer?  Take them fishing.  Maybe they'll see a great blue heron catch a fish.

Work in an office with pasty-skinned drones?  Check out and find out how you can get them into the Adopt A Highway program.  Maybe a red-tailed hawk will fly over, screaming, with a snake in its talons while they collect trash.

Blessed with a non-birding spouse?  Surprise him/her with a bed & breakfast getaway near one of the bird meccas, in state or out--Sierra Vista, the California coast, the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, the Florida Everglades.  Maybe a hummingbird will pick the loose hairs off his/her collar to use for her nest.

Have a friend who enjoys gardening but never leaves their backyard?  Take them to Boyce-Thompson Arboretum State Park for the amazing variety of cactus on sale.  Maybe they'll hear the wonderfully onomatopoeic call of a canyon wren cascading down the cliffs along the trail.

Know a soccer mom with an SUV who's tires have never seen dirt?  Throw the team into the SUV and go have a picnic along a creek on one of the nearby national forest roads.  I'd recommend the Castle Hot Springs Road which makes a loop west of Lake Pleasant off state route 74 or the Cherry Creek Road, #203, off the Globe-Young Highway on the Tonto.  Maybe they'll encounter a roadrunner with a lizard in its bill.

Bored with a workout partner who does the same old spin classes every week?  Take them up the Hunter or Sunset Vista Trails in Picacho Peak State Park.  Maybe you'll catch ravens playing in the thermals, locking talons, tumbling down the wind.

The uninitiated are usually hooked by how a quiet day outdoors peels away the layers of stress laid down by life in the big city.  Awareness leads to empathy, empathy to preservation.  Enlist a friend or relative in the effort to preserve what we have.  Email me and let me know how you carried out your resolution.  Better yet, have your enlistee email me and tell me how they got hooked.