Birding and Exercise

I used to run.  A lot.  For about 5 years it averaged an hour a day.  Then I severely strained a muscle from too many consecutive 5K and 10K races and the running came to a screeching halt.  After a couple of years it was back to a point that I could run at a lower level.  But by that time I had switched from a casual birder/serious runner to serious birder/casual runner.  And I wasn’t ready to go back to being a serious runner.

But now it is more than a few years later and I have put on the pounds and miss the feeling one gets from regularly exercise.  And I really don’t have the extra time to do both to a level I find acceptable.  Plus something has always bothered me about driving to go birding.  So over the last couple of years as I decided the focus of my birding would be on my local area, I kept thinking I should combine the two activities.  But not being able to get very far out of town for the 4 winter months really kept me from pursuing the idea.  In Illinois I lived in the center of town and it was a two mile walk to the edge of town.  I always felt I would miss the winter diurnal raptors and longspurs/buntings without a big effort.  Plus when I was in Illinois that meant missing the uncommon gulls that would show up at the Starved Rock Lock and Dam. And my two favorite birding areas in the summer were about 18 miles from my house, in opposite directions.

But now in Indiana I live on the edge of town. I can be walking on a country road in 5 minutes.  There is no close river or lake to see gulls, so that doesn’t matter no matter what the weather.  Plus my favorite birding areas are only 8-10 miles away.  In basically the same direction.

So now I am proposing to myself instead of driving the usual 15-20 minutes to an area outside of town, to walk/slow jog 40-45 minutes to a similar habitat in or by town.  Then walk/slow jog to another site, etc.  This especially applies to the winter months.  The summer won’t be as tough since I can bike the 8-10 miles to Atterbury and Johnson County Park in an hour or so.  During the work week I will walk/jog more for exercise, at least until the days lengthen.  And on the weekends it will be more for birding.

I will still bird by car when going out with other people, driving to sites farther away like Goose Pond, and when the weather is bad.  But the plan for now is to do most of my birding by my own power.

So that’s the plan for now.  I will share my revised yearly goals on birding and losing weight, plus my thoughts on Green Birding at a later date.

But I need to get through this weekend when I have planned to take a couple of long walk/jogs.  Maybe I will say that this was a bad idea and be right back to driving.





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