This hobby is all Dean’s fault. Dean noted that Kim liked watching birds, but didn’t really know most of the birds or their names. So for her 34th birthday, he bought a set of image-stabilized binoculars and arranged a trip to southeastern Arizona.
That trip jump-started Kim’s life birding list. Although the list is still very short, at least among true birders, she has seen and identified more than 130 species of birds in North America. Most of the species she’s logged have been Arizona natives, such as the Greater Roadrunner and Cactus Wren, or migratory/winter visitors such as the American Avocet and Ring-necked Duck. However, taking binoculars and field guides along on work trips have netted several gulls, terns, and other shore birds.
Dean usually serves as the wildlife photographer when we both journey out on birding hikes. Kim spots and identifies the bird through the binoculars while Dean tries to capture it through the long lens. We haven’t sprung for the 400 or 600 mm lens yet, so our pics don’t show every feather like photos from professional wildlife photographers. But they still show enough to appreciate each bird’s beauty and character.