A group of birdwatchers at Watson Woods in November of 2019 before the Coronavirus hit. (Cory Shaw/Courtesy)

If there is anything 2020 has taught us this year, it is the need for resilience. Life can change quickly. There is so much that we lack ‘control’ over. Ultimately, what matters is our ability to adapt to change and to remain hopeful and cheerful when things are challenging.

As a small business owner, I feel I have been on a roller coaster ride this year. There are high points and there are low points on a roller coaster ride, maybe even a ‘loopty-loop,’ but there is also joy and exhilaration along the way. The important thing is to focus on the joy, and enjoy — not just endure — the journey.

I feel extremely blessed and grateful for the success our business has enjoyed this year in spite of the many difficulties we have faced as a result of Coronavirus concerns.

We have struggled with maintaining adequate inventory levels due to items being unavailable and out of stock. We have struggled with massive price increases. But, through it all, our customers have been understanding and supportive, and I thank you for your encouragement and loyalty.

Everyone experiences challenges — that is part of life. At some point, in each of our lives, we will all experience good times and bad times — cycles of success and prosperity and times of challenges, discouragement and even despair.

Wait, this is supposed to be a feel-good column about wild birds and bird watching. What is the connection? One of the great challenges in life is to find balance. What is balance for one may be boring to some or exhausting to another.

To me, nature is our great example of balance. Left to its own devices, nature does a remarkable job of taking care of itself.

In fact, wild birds don’t need us to feed them. This is a bold statement from someone who makes a living selling bird seed. But I have a compelling rationale for why we feed birds. We feed birds, not because they need us to, but because we want to invite nature into our lives.

Inviting and taking nature into our lives, by observing it, experiencing it and feeling it, can help us find balance. One of the things I love about birds is the simplicity of enjoying them. Birds are everywhere. I have never been anywhere where there weren’t birds. My love affair with birds is my connection to nature, and the Creator of nature. When you become one with nature, and deepen your connection to nature, you can experience peace and you can find balance.

To this end, I invite you, however you go about it, to find time to connect with nature. We are blessed to live in this amazing part of central Arizona, where we are surrounded by nature. It is not difficult to get out into nature and watch birds. It can even be done in the comfort of our yards.

Earlier this year we discontinued our bird walks due to coronavirus concerns. I am happy to announce we are resuming our free weekly bird walks — with some modifications — to ensure the safety and wellness of the participants. If you are interested in joining us in future bird walks, I invite you to visit the Jay’s Bird Barn website where you can review the schedule for upcoming bird walks as well as the health and safety modifications we are implementing. We’re glad to be able to enjoy nature with you again.

As a reminder, our 12th annual Wild Bird Photography Contest exhibit is now open to the public. I invite you to come by the store to look at the display and vote for your favorite pictures.

Until next week, happy birding!

Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with two locations in northern Arizona—Prescott and Flagstaff. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at eric@jaysbirdbarn.com.