Relational Birding is the kind of experience where that sense of wonder and curiosity that first sparked your love for birds and birding is free to soar to new heights. It's also part of the solution for some of the most pressing problems in our human society.
How is it that we live in a world that is more connected than at any prior point in human history while at the same time we've become more isolated than ever before? I remember a time when, if I wanted to watch a movie, I had to put on my slippers, lounge pants, and a hoodie and drive to the movie rental store two miles up the road. While enroute, I'd enjoy conversation with whatever friends or family had joined me to select a couple movies. There'd almost always be a flock of crows along the road, or a hawk perched on one of the telephone poles or flying overhead. While at the movie rental store I'd have opportunity to connect with other members of the community who had also come to pick out a movie. Now, with movie rental stores obsolete and the rise of streaming apps available, I never have to leave the couch when picking a movie to watch. It's more convenient, but I miss the community interaction and bird watching opportunities I used to have when I had to make a trip to the store. I could say the same about bookstores, clothing stores, and even grocery stores. In a world where we can get almost all that we need without ever leaving home, direct interaction with our communities is now something that only happens if we choose to be very intentional about taking time for it. Feelings of isolation are a growing problem in our human communities everywhere. Isolation breeds loneliness and a propensity to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, even addiction. Relational Birding can help turn the tide, bringing us out of isolation and into a kind of connection which cultivates empathy for birds, their environments, and the other humans with whom we share the experience.
-Rich Hanlon, Relational Birding Instructor
Relational Birding is about expanding our awareness and deepening our connection with the birds we love and the ecosystems they call home. Relational Birding is about embracing the gifts of wonder and curiosity, pondering questions which lead on into endless discovery. Relational Birding is a nature connection method which celebrates that there is a place to belong for the full-diversity of nature's community and the full-diversity of human life.
The Relational Birding experience presents an opportunity to develop and refine a new wildlife observation skill set. Explore bird language. Practice the ABC's of Relational Birding; a holistic observational framework developed by Wild Neighbors Nature Connection Guide Rich Hanlon that walks us through noticing a bird's Appearance, Behavior, and Connections.
Relational Birding is never one thing. It's about birds, and it's also about other animals. It's about trees, plants, and fungi. It's about insects and spiders. It's about water, rocks, and sky. While engaging in a WNNC Relational Birding experience, you can expect to explore and experiment with these and other elements that are important parts of the world of birds. Relational Birding, at its core, is about noticing the invisible strands of connection that join all of these elements of nature's community into a complex web of life; a web of life which is made accessible through our observations of and experiences with birds.
Contact Wild Neighbors Nature Connection guide Rich Hanlon to schedule a Relational Birding outing for you or your group. It's likely that you'll find yourself inextricably connected with nature's community via our neighbors, the birds.