As I review the past year —from a birding perspective — I am so grateful for the birding trips I was able to participate in this year! In April, Gayla and I birded in southeastern Arizona and had a wonderful time. In May I went to Alamos, Mexico with a few fellow birders and saw 184 species!
In August we spent time in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and I got to hike on a segment of the Appalachian Trail and did quite a bit of birding as well. A few weeks later, in spite of COVID-19 not going away, my wife and I were able to travel to Tanzania for an amazing three-week safari and bird-watching adventure. This was truly a trip of a lifetime, and I saw 460 different bird species!
For the year, I have seen 813 bird species that I was able to identify. This is the highest species count for a single year in my lifetime. By comparison, last year I saw 532 bird species. Certainly my trip to Tanzania was a major factor in the number of species I observed this year.
As the year comes to a close, I feel so grateful for all of the blessings I have personally enjoyed this year, as well as the blessings my family and business have enjoyed. As a family we have stayed well, our business has been busy in spite of very trying circumstances with COVID-19-related impacts, including rising prices, lack of inventory and shipping issues. I thank all of you for your support this past year.
Another major milestone this year was running a successful campaign and getting elected to serve on the Prescott City Council. It is an honor and a privilege to serve the community I love. I appreciate the trust the citizens of Prescott have placed in me, and I pledge to do my very best these next four years as I serve on the City Council.
Another significant event in 2021 was our ability to purchase a building for the new future home of Jay’s Bird Barn. This includes our Hallmark Gold Crown department, as well as Arizona Field Optics, our business specializing in Swarovski and Vortex binoculars and spotting scopes. For 18 years we’ve paid rent, and now with the purchase of a building we will have equity in a building that we own. While our move to the new location is probably at least six months away, the prospect of moving into our own space is very exciting indeed!
As we reflect on conditions in the world, I acknowledge we lived in troubled times. Every day we see it, hear it and read it about it in the news. However, I am hopeful and optimistic that the new year will bring us all a measure of peace and prosperity.
It is my hope, as you look ahead to the new year, that spending time in nature will be one of your goals and priorities. I think time spent in nature is an investment in both our mental and physical health. It can help restore balance to our lives and provide us with peace as we see both the beauty and order in the natural world.
While there are a lot of things we cannot control in this world, we can choose to be responsible for our own happiness, our attitude and a healthy lifestyle. Choosing to live our lives by participating in activities where we engage in a pursuit of time spent in nature helps us to develop a connection with the Creator of nature.
Wishing you a Happy New Year, and until next week, Happy Birding!
Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn in Prescott, Arizona. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.