Welcome to Joy of Birdwatching, a place to discover and grow your love for wild birds!

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I always envied the warmer regions of the world for their colorful birds: parrots, quetzals, peacocks, toucans, flamingos, hummingbirds – you name it. Local birds seemed drab and boring by comparison. But when I finally started paying attention, I began to see hummingbirds, goldfinches, grosbeaks, herons, barn swallows, woodpeckers, jays and many other flashes of beauty and color right in my own backyard. Just today I spotted my very first downy woodpecker!

And I began to receive gifts like this:

One year a pair of barn swallows built a nest under a balcony that overhung a large window in my home. The nest was quite visible from


Barn Swallow Feeding Young
By Immanuel Giel [CC BY-SA 3.0 ]

inside, and toward the middle of spring my partner and I had the absolute joy of seeing “Mom” and “Dad” spend an hour teaching and encouraging their last timid nestling to take a giant leap of faith and try to fly. Watching that baby bird screw up its courage and take its tentative first flight took my breath away. Within a few minutes the baby was flying well and visibly feeling more confident about the world beyond his nest.

Another time I was standing at my living room picture window when a ruby-throated hummingbird came and hovered right in my face, less than ten inches away on the other side of the glass. I was spellbound as we calmly inspected each other for 15 or 20 seconds, after which he dashed away to defend “his” feeder. (Hummingbirds are inveterate squabblers and very territorial.)

The more I looked, the more I saw and the more pleasure I gained from watching the various birdy antics, noticing their odd habits and seeing how various species come and go with the seasons. And I began to want to see more: more birds, more varieties, more antics. To do that, I needed to figure out how to attract them and I want to share what I’ve learned with you, to enhance your life and add beauty and happiness to your windows and patio.

I also want to be a voice for conservation: the proliferation of invasive species and habitat destruction means that some wild birds need our help to survive in their native areas. Attracting birds to our homes with food, water and nest boxes and birdbaths seems like a win-win to me.

Whether you want to preserve diversity in your local bird population or just want to have a bit of fun watching birds live their lives, I’m here to help you make your space a “must see” destination for the local feathered clans.

If you ever have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Joy Thurlow (a pseudonym for Kathee Muzin)


Image credit: Barn Swallow Feeding Young By Immanuel Giel [CC BY-SA 3.0 ]

Joy of Birdwatching