Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Bird Count

It's a good thing that birders aren't planning to take over the world; they'd probably succeed. They are all armed with binoculars, amazing memories, and lots of facts, and they are exceedingly well-organized.

I had never heard of the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count until this year, when Felix got a call from an ornithology grad student inviting him to go out in the field with the local ornithology professor to cover some territory in the National Forest. Not surprisingly, Felix did not decline the invitation, and spent from sun-up to sundown yesterday counting birds with the professionals. He was in his element, and earned the title of "sharp cookie" from his companions.

I'm not really sure how he made the connections to get brought along on that expedition--and he's going again on Wednesday to count another area--but I do know that within a couple of minutes of talking with *anyone* he has gauged their interest in birds and gotten the lowdown on their best sightings.

There is no joy like the joy of seeing my children grow up smart and accomplished and figuring out the work they are supposed to do in the world!


Kendra said...

I believe this to be one of the most wonderful things about homeschooling; that children have plenty of time to both discover and pursue something that really interests them!
Congratulations to your Felix, he sounds like a very bright young man.

Rebecca said...

You don't know me and so you might find this hard to believe, but I have been checking your blog for months and months and your family has just astounded me. Just yesterday I was telling my husband this VERY thing about your boys. I think it is so wonderful that you embraced and supported them in their interests-and have encouraged them...and by doing so, they have far exceeded any expectations anyone might have had.

I have been meaning to ask you about this for a while so I guess now is the perfect opportunity.

Did you introduce these interests to the boys or did they just COME up with them?

Are your girls as devoted to a subject as your boys?

How did you encourage them in their pursuits?

I am just so impressed with you and your family. I hope that at some point, our family can reflect those same attributes.

Anna said...

Thanks for your kind words. As far as the boys and their interests, they really just came up with them. Actually, Giles was never interested in photography until two years ago, when he accompanied his father on a trip to Cameroon to shoot a documentary. He was handed a digital camera and informed that he was in charge of all the still photography. He loved it! He's been refining his approach since then and scorns his early photographs, of course.

Felix woke up one day interested in birds, as I recall. It literally seemed to come out of nowhere, although he has had a lifelong fondness for ducks, and a tiny stuffed duck, Little Ducky, had been his beloved pocket companion. As he tells it, he was moderately interested in birding, until we went camping in the Rockies the first time. Then he REALLY got interested in it. That was a year and a half ago.

Clara started telling us when she was three that she wanted to play the violin. But there's no good violin teacher in town, and there is an excellent cello teacher. We suggested that she might try the cello instead, and took her to a lesson to watch. She was four. She said yes, she did want to play the cello. She started right before she was five and has played literally every day she hasn't been really sick, or on the road.

Bella hasn't really found her thing yet, and that's okay! The boys were 13 and 11 before their interests really kicked in.

Shannon said...

Dear Anna, I was introduced to your blog not very long ago, and I have been so impressed... well, with everything. I like seeing how you make things beautiful, and reading how you find so much joy in seemingly everything. I've also been quite inspired with your sewing to get up and get going on my own! I'm not meaning to gush or try to puff you up, but just tell you that you've caused me to stop and think about the way that I look at my life and my home, and my people, and to ask God to create in my heart the ability to see so much beauty in what I have, too. I'm also going to relax about my children! Thank you to Rebecca for asking the questions that have been on my own heart. It doesn't seem you (Anna) had any trouble seeing your childrens' interests - how hard could it be for me to see what interests mine, especially since I have the opportunity to be with them all the time? Thank you!

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