Henry and Deb met while birding, and their shared love of birds gave lift to the wings of their relationship. Since that first field trip, they have traveled around the country together birding. I met the pair at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in upstate New York looking for a Garganey. After talking with them for nearly half an hour, and birding with them the following day, I had to move on to Boston and they persisted for the Garganey (which regretfully showed up days after they left)
They invited me to stay with them in Maine, and I took them up on their generous offer spotting a Bicknell's Thrush on a ski mountain in Vermont, and spending some quality time with my family. I stayed at their beautiful home just miles down the road from where I was born, in Brunswick. Henry's photographs of birds from Puffins to Northern Hawk Owls graced the walls of their home, including my guest bedroom. (The Hawk Owls were my favorite, as 'HAWKOWL' is my current license plate) After a fantastic meal and even better dessert, we hiked along the rocky coastline at sunset. Needless to say, I fell asleep quickly that night, with dreams of Hog Island dancing in my head.
I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of my recent hosts (Henry and Deb included) who have opened their homes to me, allowing me to progress in my big year, from sleeping in my car, to a couch, to a bed. Maybe by the year's end I'll have a hotel sponsorship...???
What role has birding played in your relationship together?
Henry: We met on bird trips. We figured out we went on 4 day trips together. We didn't know each other's names. I spent more time talking to her friend... (laughs)
Deb: We became birding friends. Mass Audubon is an amazing birding community. People really know each other well. The whole cooperative nature of that birding community was definitely part of it.
Henry: We both lived in eastern Mass so we both would see each other out birding
Deb: We both were individually involved with birding. It was easy to talk with each other about birds.
What do you like about having a birding spouse?
Deb: He's a good communicator because he takes the photos and then he sends emails out to everybody on the trip.
Henry: She hears the birds. I may not even be tuning into the bird songs. She's tuned in!
Deb: We're the only two people who we know that can talk about birds as much as we want and the other doesn't get annoyed. (laughs)
Deb: Another way that they got to know each other was by volunteering with a young birders program. Henry was asked to be involved, and he asked me to be involved too. It's been the best. I think overall if you were to take one thing that made us grow... [that would be it].