Black and White Warbler at Middle Run Preserve by Derek Stoner

Do you have a ‘spark bird?’ These Delaware nature lovers do

Joe Sebastiani, Special to The News Journal

Have you seen the show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo?” The concept is that everyday items can “spark joy.”

Or not.

Things that do not spark joy should be thanked and discarded, simplifying your life.

I have been “sparked” by things not shaped by human hands – plants, mountains, rivers, creatures — especially birds.

In fact, birders coined the term “spark bird” well before the trendy home organization movement. A spark bird awakens your interest in all birds in a serious way.

Your spark bird makes you see the world differently, waking up each day wondering what birds you might see.

Spark birds reveal a world of beauty, adventure, awe and inspiration. Who doesn’t need that in life?

Ask any birder about their spark bird and see what they say.
A snowy owl perched on a pole one icy morning day at Stone Harbor, New Jersey, sparked photographer Hank Davis interested in birds.

A snowy owl perched on a pole one icy morning day at Stone Harbor, New Jersey, sparked photographer Hank Davis interested in birds. (Photo: Courtesy of Hank Davis/Delaware Nature Society)

Hank Davis, a DNS program participant and photographer-but-not-yet birder, was in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, on a very cold, icy winter day. He was excited to get out and use a new telephoto lens.

While walking on the beach to photograph a winter sunrise, he spotted a lump on a wooden pole near the surf. He walked closer and discovered a Snowy Owl. He only knew it was a Snowy Owl because it was his college fraternity mascot.

He fired away with his new camera gear. Hank says that ever since that moment he has seen the world differently.

During the cold, dreary days of winter, when nothing seems alive, couldn’t you use a spark?

Just step outside or get a bird feeder and watch birds from the warmth of your home. It can change your whole day. The simplicity of observing the brilliant red of a male Cardinal or the electric iridescence of a Blue Jay might be enough to spark joy.

This article originally appeared in The News Journal on February 12, 2019. You can read it here.