The American Birding Association recently announced that the 2023 bird of the year is the “Queenfisher” – (specifically the female version of the Belted Kingfisher! I love this one!)
But did you know you can also get your very OWN “Bird of the Year” for 2023?
Every year, I take part in a tradition where the first bird you see in the new year becomes your “Bird of the Year.” This can be a great way to deepen your connection to a specific bird species over the next 12 months, learn more about it, and even find a personal sense of meaning about how this bird relates to your life.
It’s not a commitment – think of it as a program that runs in the background, so whenever you’re exploring in nature and happen to observe that bird, you think “Ah! That’s my bird of the year!” and feel a little warm fuzzy inside.
My blog post from last year has more instructions on HOW to find your bird of the year.
You get to make your own rules. Is it the first bird you see? The first bird you hear? Does it count if you see it through the window, or do you have to go outside?
If it's past the New Year, and you haven't got a bird of the year yet, it's not too late!
I held a workshop on January 4 so we could gather to share what bird of the year we got! I also shared prompts to help you start get to know your bird in a deeper way.
What’s your initial reaction to getting this bird? Do you feel excited, disappointed, neutral? Why?
What do you already know (or THINK you know) about this bird species? Make a list of facts.
Do you know what the song / call sounds like? Take 1 minute to make a visual representation on your page. Later, check to see if you are correct! Listen even more deeply next time you hear it.
Do you know of any stories, folklore, or cultural connections to this bird?
What questions do you have about this bird?
What resources can you use to learn more? Where would you search? The library, All About Birds website, Audubon Bird Guide, someone you know who is knowledgeable? I reccomend searching the library and ordering any relevant books now... last year I found a couple great books about my bird, but I never got around to checking them out!
What might this bird symbolize for you in your life, or remind you of? (NOT anthropomorphizing or projecting). We’re not saying “This is what this birds IS,” we’re saying “This is what this bird makes me think about.”
As you go through this year, keep in mind: What does this bird need? What’s something you could do to give back, to support its habitat / conservation?
At the end of the workshop, I asked everyone to put their biggest takeaway in the chat. As you'll see if you watch the full recording, the most popular takeaway was: "Finding the EXTRAORDINARY in the ORDINARY!"
So, what bird of the year did YOU get? What about it are you most excited to explore? If you like, let me know in the comments!
Happy 2023! May your year be full of wonderful nature experiences and lots of fascinating birds to observe!
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