I do not consider myself a true birdwatcher, as I seldom venture outdoors with the express purpose of finding birds. I’m more of an opportunistic birdwatcher, always happy when my path leads to a bird, but equally happy to run across a snail or squirrel or vine in bloom.

After acquiring a camera capable of photographing birds (and squirrels and snails and vines in bloom), I quickly accumulated an awkward catch-all folder of “Unknown Bird” photos. This method of cataloguing my photos soon proved impossible to manage. Now, with the help of field guides and online resources, the Unknown Birds folder has dwindled to a minor subset of my bird files.

I’m grateful for the urge to name what I photograph, because I’ve learned about Pied-billed Grebes and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Pine Warblers and Northern Flickers. And I want to keep learning, which perhaps makes me a birdwatcher after all.

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