by Linda Du Lac, Membership Chair

L-R: Zoey Du Lac, 9 – Molly Jane Buckley, 6
Photo courtesy Linda Du Lac

Throughout our 45+ years together my husband and I have always been active outdoors people. Whether skiing, hiking, biking, or traveling, we often carry binoculars and a bird identification book. Even though neither of us are serious life listers, we do love to identify the birds we see. 

A few years ago we decided to move closer to our youngest son, here in the Flathead. That decision has been a very positive change in our lives. We now have the support of family and get to enjoy our young grandchildren in these, our “later” years. And just as important, we have become neighborhood birders and keep a daily journal of our findings. Oh those birds!

We get out two to three times per day walking in the neighborhood and to the Swan River, where there is an interesting variety of birds. Although we don’t have river frontage, our nice neighbor to the north, who is older than me, has allowed us access to his riverfront property. As a thank you I gave him a bird identification book. It has been satisfying to see him become an avid bird watcher. Every once in a while I’ll get a call from him to quickly get down to the river. It doesn’t take me long to grab the camera and binoculars to see what excited him. Yup, that is indeed a Double-Crested Cormorant! Yup, that is an Eastern Kingbird. Nope, that isn’t a Golden, it’s an immature Baldy, which he described as being like a B-52 bomber diving to catch a duck.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Zoey, our 9-year-old granddaughter has become a birder.  Whenever I ask her to join me on a Flathead Audubon Society (FAS) field trip she enthusiastically jumps at the invitation. Oh those young eyes are something to be admired. She can spot birds at distances that to me are blurry blobs, until I raise my binoculars. One day last fall, my friend Susan and I took her birding to Condon in the Swan Valley. It was an enjoyable, although long day. On the trip home Zoey opened my iBird app and tested Susan and I on bird sounds. We were able to ID some correctly and on those we missed, the three of us often ended up laughing at our outrageous mistakes. 

For me personally, joining the FAS has been a joy that has enriched my life like no other organization. The field trips are fun and educational. The general meeting programs are always outstanding, and special events such as the Birds of Prey Festival are something not to be missed. The people in our organization are not only nice and kind, but are accessible to help this recreational birder.  

Whether you are young or old, a life lister or a recreational birder, the FAS is the best organization to join. Birds and Birders Rock!