Close your eyes. What do you hear? Maybe it’s a soft chirp from the window? A collection of voices rising above the surf? A scratch from the pavement beneath?
We recently tuned in to an episode of The Outside/In podcast where host Sam Evans-Brown chatted with Bridget Butler (aka The Bird Diva) and together they ventured out their windows to unpack the practice of slow birding.
While traditional birding can be complex, requiring lots of travel and equipment, not to mention time, to spot rare species—slow birding invites us to bring awareness to our surroundings, to connect and center.
While we are staying put, birds continue to explore freely. They’re found everywhere...outside your city window, within your backyard, and on the dunes that line the beach.
Today we invite you to join us and give slow birding a try. Here's how:
1. Venture out to your back steps or deck (or simply open a window).
2. Slow down & check-in. How do you feel? Get comfy. Drop your shoulders. Take a few deep breaths.
3. Open your senses. What do you hear? Ask yourself...
- How far away can I listen?
- How close can I listen?
- Can I listen above me?
- Can I listen below me?
- Can I listen in front of me?
4. Take note of what surrounds. Which birds do you hear? Can you see the birds that you're hearing (it's okay if you can't!). What kinds of sounds are they making?
You can cultivate this practice over time. We invite you to brew a cup of coffee or tea and open a window to discover what lives outside. Perhaps you check-in for a few minutes each morning over the next few days. You might be surprised by what you discover---the same feathered friend who stops by day after day, or an exciting visitor who returns after a winter away.
If you can, snap a photo of what you spot and share what you've discovered with us using #valomaine. We can't wait to see what you've caught a glimpse of.
If you come along and post a photo and tag @valomaine on Instagram or Facebook, we'll enter you in a raffle to win a prize--like a gift card from our friends at Rosemont Market & Bakery or a year-long subscription from the good folks at Taproot Magazine.
Ready to dive in?
Each evening of valo at home, we'll be sharing an email with the next day's spark of valo inspiration. Simply click here to share your email, and we'll make sure you're looped in! You can also forward this post to a friend and invite them to come along. The more the merrier.