People of PAS

Paula Parsons

Reported in an employee newsletter, March 2015
(reprinted with permission of Qualis Health)
Better health and wellness can come from something as simple as getting outside for a favorite activity—like birdwatching. “When you love doing something, and find beauty in birds and nature, you’re excited and happy,” explains Paula. “You’re getting outside, using your mind, learning new things, having new adventures, exploring new locations and socializing. All of these things contribute to my physical and mental well-being. In addition, birdwatching is an activity that my husband and I both enjoy, so we have that shared time together.”
Paula finds that birding keeps her moving. “Every year I travel for two multi-day birding trips around the state, go on monthly field trips with our Audubon chapter, attend workshops and birding festivals, and participate in the all-day annual Christmas Bird Count. Although birding is an outside activity, it is leisurely walking and not fast paced so you need to have a different outdoor mindset. This is not a workout, yet you are outside enjoying nature and the elements.”
“My interest in birdwatching started way back. When I met my husband in college he introduced me to birds and ducks. Then I rescued a Mourning Dove and cared for it before releasing it—not something I previously ever would have been interested in doing. Once we had children, we made fewer viewing forays but still kept feeders to attract backyard birds. About 10 years ago, we started getting back into birding by traveling to birding festivals around the state, joining the local Audubon chapter and going on many field trips. This exposure has greatly enhanced my knowledge and skills for bird identification. And upgrading to better quality binoculars and referencing several bird guides hasn’t hurt either.”
“Birdwatching is like a treasure hunt. To find the birds and be able to identify them is extremely satisfying. To learn bird songs and calls, and to observe their displays and breeding plumage is spectacular and exciting. Going with a group of other birdwatchers on field trips enhances the whole experience—there are multiple sets of eyes and you constantly learn from one another. You’re a student and a teacher at the same time.”

If you’d like to join Paula as a birder, here are her tips for birdwatching. “Join neighborhood walks or field trips through local Audubon chapters (you don’t have to be a member), take a backyard birdwatching class at your local rec center, put up a bird feeder in your yard to start observing birds, get involved in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count in February (great family, school or Scouts activity), or go to the local festivals. This time of year is an excellent time to get started. The Olympic Peninsula BirdFest is in Sequim in April, and in May is the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival. Always take your binoculars!”


Paula and other PAS members on the June trip to NE Washington. Paula is under the word “Refuge”.  Photo by Rick Brauer