By Friends of Marcia Ruotolo
Along the way, we became friends. Carpools on field trips gave us time to chat and develop connections. Shared snacks during our evening class break gave us more chances to know each other better.
Over the years, a core group of about ten continued our friendship while reinforcing our birding skills. We have comforted and consoled each other through illnesses and the death of spouses. Most recently, we have mourned the death of one of our own, Marcia Ruotolo, and decided to honor her memory by making a donation to SFBBO.
Here is why we continue to bird:
“Birding puts a smile on my face. I don’t need to tick off rarities on my life list. I am content to mark the passing seasons by the changing plumage and the comings and goings of migrants on the Bay.”
“Our group can put aside the ups and downs of life to take a walk and just enjoy the beauty of local birding sites, blending bird observation with a little chatting and a lot of good laughs. I never returned home without having learned or re-learned something essential about our avian friends.”
"Birding and birders have enabled me to get outside of myself and to enjoy a really great group of people."
“Birding is a peaceful and quiet way to connect deeply with wherever you are.”
“Stumbling into Bob Power’s Beginning Birding, I barely knew a duck from an eagle. Hundreds of hours later - after tromping through marshes, forests, riparian corridors - my life is enriched, blessed - by birds and enduring friendships. Quick! A Nuttall’s in my bird bath. There’s a White-breasted Nuthatch in the branch overhead!”
“The marvel of flight…birds’ myriad vocalizations (music! a different & exciting language to learn)…colors and patterns…amazing variety…the intellectual stimulation of looking, learning, problem-solving…the camaraderie of other birders…feelings of awe and joy…the balm of contentment one moment/ the rush of excitement the next.”
“Birding is an experience that can be enjoyed anywhere. It adds a new dimension to wherever one travels…even in one’s own backyard!”
“Birding is joy, the joy of learning, the joy of discovery, the joy of hunting, the joy of sharing, the joy of marveling, the joy of just sitting, looking, and listening, of discussing and laughing and a little arguing, and the joy of doing all that with new and old friends and people you love.”
“Birders are just plain friendly people with the desire to help each other out. I have not been able to join this group on most excursions during the past couple years, but my heart has always been there, eager to hear or imagine what birds were seen by this group on a particular day.”
Thank you, SFBBO, for continuing to support birding around the Bay!
Photographers (in order) Joshua Ryan Aloysius White, Jerry Ting, SFBBO, Mike Bolte, Katja Zuske, Carol Ann Krug Graves, Curt Bianchi, and Garrett Lau.
Thank you to the Friends of Marcia Ruotolo for donating more than $1,000 to support scholarships to send students from underserved communities to future SFBBO bird ID workshops taught by Affiliated Senior Biologist Alvaro Jaramillo.
Wingbeat is a blog where you can find the most recent stories about our science and outreach work. We'll also share guest posts from volunteers, donors, partners, and others in the avian science and conservation world. To be a guest writer, please contact email@example.com.