[community] Birdability

Dan Shire dan.shire at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 18:40:48 UTC 2020

Hi folks -

I hope all my friends and colleagues in the accessibility field are 
doing well and hanging in there during the COVID situation which 
continues to affect us all.

Today is the start of Audubon's Birdability Week.

An effective way to relieve stress and anxiety can be spending time 
outdoors in nature.  My wife Karen and I do this by visiting natural 
areas like parks where we are able to hike, and by birding (watching and 
listening to birds).  Karen hears more birds than I see, despite her 
youthful enthusiasm for Led Zeppelin music.

Some of the most experienced birders identify the birds by their song, 
rather than by sight. So, low vision and mobility limitations do not 
have to limit our enjoyment of birds and nature when we have a chance to 
visit accessible natural areas.

The Audubon society has partnered with a number of groups and 
individuals to explore and promote accessible birding for a wide 
audience.  You can learn more about this initiative on the website 
mentioned below. If you have discovered a place where you can experience 
nature and birds, you can add that location to their map, which already 
includes a number of accessible trails and locations in Ontario. Your 
accessible spots for bird watching and birding by ear could be anywhere 
in Canada or the United States.

"Birdability Week 2020 is a celebration that birding is for everybody! 
Everybody includes anyone who wants to participate in birding events but 
experiences accessibility challenges. —Virginia Rose, founder of 

Here is their website - https://gis.audubon.org/birdability/

Also, I wanted to let people know that I am working on organizing an 
east-end GTA event during the bird migratory season next year (mid May 
2021) when I hope we can once again get together in person to enjoy some 
birding. I am on the board of the Thickson's Woods Nature Reserve in 
Whitby (www.thicksonswoods.com) and I would like to set up a 'birding by 
ear' 3 hour experience for novice birders with low vision or blindness 
who would like to explore birding in the Toronto area with some 
experienced tutors and in a safe and welcoming environment.  Stay tuned 
for more information about this over the winter as I work on the details.

best wishes

Dan Shire (IBM Canada, retired).

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