Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Birding on the Inside: A Natural History

I confess... to dreaming about birds. More specifically, I find myself birding in the dream. How long have I been dreambirding? At least 8 years - most of my birding "career". On average, I "bird the dreamworld" about once a week. The frequency fluctuates greatly, but seems to vary directly with the amount of real-world birding I'm doing at the time. I don't remember ever discussing this with fellow enthusiasts, but I assume I'm not alone in experiencing this phenomenon.

Most other dreams I experience have few, if any, lasting effects. Dreambirding, however, is a whole lotta fun! Almost as much as the real McCoy. It consistently engenders positive feelings long after I have awakened. The only real downer is I haven't figured out how to consciously affect whether I will dreambird - yet. I'll keep you updated.

Are the dream-species exotic and fantastical? I wish. The vast majority are of those expected in the Austin, TX area - my home for over a decade. Most individuals I do identify are arboreal and passerine. This is a profound irony as I spend the proverbial lion's share of my time searching for birds of wide open areas: sea, air, mudflat, ag. field (and sometimes garbage dump) at seemingly ever-increasing distances. A few times the dream-habitat was tropical/jungle-like, and once East African thornscrub-ish. While most of the experiences are typically dream-like (e.g. fairly pedestrian and creepy color palette), some are among the most vivid I've ever had. Alas, there's no predicting which will occur.

Another swell thing about my dreambirding experiences - I never have binoculars. If I hanker for seeing a bird up close, it just... happens. Sweet! In my book this definitely ranks way up there as one of the wicked cool features of dreams.

I've had the idea to blog about this "dream life" for years. I'm excited at the prospect of finally sharing with others the dreambirding experience. I might even be persuaded to perform experiments: like how/if different foods eaten just before bedtime influences these evanescent Aves. I've heard of some pretty far-out results with friends' non-bird dreams. Oh well, without further ado...

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