Wednesday, February 4, 2009
BIRDS AT HOME
I have always been interested in every kind of outdoor critter, but especially in the birds. When I was in my 20s, I officially declared myself a “birdwatcher” (a term I still often use in place of the now-favored “birder”). I’ve had endless hours of pleasure in nature with my bins, camera, field guide, and sketchpad, or just sitting and listening. A friend once asked my how I got so interested in birds, and I said I didn’t really know, I just always had been. But then one day I remember this book, and the lightbulb went on.
My parents were book lovers, constant readers, but they didn’t have any particular interest in nature. My dad taught me how to whistle by imitating a male cardinal, and we always looked for the first robin each spring, and that was about it. Why they picked out this book for me, I’ll never know. It was probably just a whim, maybe because the pictures were so pretty. I remembered the connection too late to be able to ask them why they picked it, or to tell them that their serendipitous selection has given me a lifetime interest and so much enjoyment.
Birds At Home has been out of print for some time. It was originally copyright in 1942; I probably received mine in the mid- to late fifties, but the one in the photo isn’t my original copy. That one was lost and forgotten through too many moves over too many years. The one in the photo is a replacement from an Amazon used bookseller. Since I grew up in Detroit, I ordered my copy from a seller in Canton, Michigan. Alas, it turned out not to be my long-lost copy; the inside cover has “ Babs Bader” written in pencil. Maybe somewhere out there someone has a copy with my name written in it. (And Babs, if you’re out there reading this, and you want your old book back, I’ll send it to you!)