At this point, when the coronavirus pandemic is far from over and in many states is surging, there seems plenty of reason to shy away when it comes to pointing out silver linings. But they are there, as this newspaper has been pointing out over the last few months. It includes people coming together like never before, managing to stay close during a time when social distancing is essential, and it includes families spending time and doing activities together like perhaps never before.
It also includes spending time in the outdoors. People are taking the opportunity to observe, as pandemic spring has turned into summer, nature and its continually unfolding beauty. So instead of baseball stadiums, state parks are the places experiencing capacity crowds, and there’s an increased interest in observing wildlife.
That includes birds, whose singing now greets us every morning. You don’t have to venture out into the wild to enjoy birding; birds will come to you if you set things up properly.
There’s anecdotal evidence that people are taking to this in a big way. “I think more people working from home and also being home more in general has led to more sales of bird feeding setups and bird houses to enjoy in their yards,” said Ryan Zipp, a partner at The Fat Robin Wild Bird and Nature Shop in Hamden. Money that was perhaps once used for travel is now going into efforts to make backyards convivial places for birds, he noted.
Audubon Society members also report an increase in birdwatching, as evidenced by those inquiring about the identity of a particular bird. “People are noticing birds more so than they have ever before,” said Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, an Audubon Society board member.
That can happen, as the world quiets under the threat of the virus. The skies are clearer when it comes to air traffic, the highways less travelled, and people are out more in the world that was always around them. Birds are life’s wonderful companions, and that we get to notice this more is a silver lining indeed.