Bird Sits

Bird Language in Practice

Learn what the birds are saying and deepen your connection to your home place with this 4-part webinar series.

Audubon California and Weaving Earth are offering a springtime dive into the practice of Bird Language. 

Bird Language is a fun and powerful practice for long-time bird lovers and beginners alike. The practice is accessible in all sorts of home environments and whether you know all the birds in your neighborhood or are just beginning to meet them. 

This practice aims to expand awareness of the interrelated ecology that we are a part of, deepen intimacy with the birds in our home places, gain an understanding of common bird language patterns, calm the mind, enjoy the unfolding of spring, and discover how the birds can teach us about ourselves and the ways we move through the world.

Though we will be gathered remotely, the series is focused on experiential learning and the chance to practice bird language together -- including getting off of our screens for some of the time. 

Join Weaving Earth facilitators brontë velez, Lauren Dalberth Hage, and Will Scott with co-host and co-collaborator Molly Tsongas from Audubon California, for this exciting 4-part webinar series that will take your attention out into the bird world around you, wherever you are. 

What is Bird Language and Why is it Important?

  • Have you felt the ease and peace that accompanies the birds when they are singing all at once?

  • Has your body ever picked up on the tension that comes when the birds suddenly go quiet? 

  • Have you noticed the subtleties of your own impacts as you move through the landscape?

There is a conversation happening all around us that does not take place using human-made words or language. It exists in sound, gesture, feeling, and silence -- communicating a constantly unfolding story of place that we are all a part of. 

Birds pay very close attention to their surroundings and are often very vocal about what they observe. Acknowledging a food source, signifying territory, attracting a mate, coordinating within a flock, and sounding the alarm when danger comes are all critical in the life-cycle of a songbird -- and all rely on communication. Because communication is a key part of their survival strategy, birds are great teachers of intraspecies and interspecies communication. By paying attention to what they are saying, we are given a window of insight into the events that are unfolding in real-time on the landscape.

It is akin to a nature-based mindfulness practice, where the birds are our guides to remaining present and focused. The heart of this practice is called a bird sit, which consists of a few simple steps: 

  1. Find a spot: Somewhere you feel comfortable to sit quietly for 10-20 minutes (This can be your doorstep, backyard, or local park. Convenience is key)

  2. Arrive and have a seat: Bringing along whatever you need to be comfortable such as a chair, cushion, blanket, snack, or something to drink

  3. Activate your senses: Spend a little time focusing on each of the primary senses (plus any other senses you’d like to engage): feeling, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. 

  4. Pay attention: Relax and simply notice what is happening in the world around you (and within you), giving particular emphasis to the movements, vocalizations, and behavior of the birds.

  5. Share the Story: Sharing what we observed and hearing from others helps us understand patterns and stories that are unfolding on the landscape.

The gift of this practice is that our teachers are all around us! Whether in a city, suburb, rural area, desert, mountains, or seaside, birds and bird communications can be observed in our daily lives. For many, their conversations are hidden in plain view, chatting and buzzing all around us with no discernable order to it. Yet with practice, time, and attention (plus a bit of guidance), the patterns of this original Twitter feed begin to emerge.  In fact, it is likely that we are already picking up on it -- whether consciously or not -- because our bodies evolved over millions of years to do so. 

For many peoples the world over, the reality of interspecies communication is commonplace and essential -- a natural part of daily life and relationship to place. Sadly, for many people in the modernized world, that awareness and sensitivity have become dull. 

Legacies of colonialism, ideologies of human supremacy, and industrialization have contributed to the loss of these sensitivities, as well as to the loss of biodiversity and ecological wellbeing. We welcome exploration of these legacies and their current impacts as part of this webinar, recognizing their relevance to all that is unfolding on the planet at this time -- for birds and humans alike. 

Bird language is fueled by curiosity, storytelling, and a willingness to expand awareness. It is fun, deep, challenging, and enchanting. By slowing down and tuning in to our wild neighbors, we can increase our sensitivity, awareness, empathy, and understanding, which in turn leads to responsible action towards conservation, stewardship, and citizenry.

Paying attention in this way can be an important step in remembering how to engage reciprocal place-based intimacy. Intimacy is a closeness born of time, attention, humility, care, familiarity, and contact. Bird Language builds intimacy, which in turn brings with it an undeniable embodied experience of our interrelationship with the ecological web. Inevitably, this leads to more balance and response-ability in our lives and world. 

Webinar Details:

WHEN:        Mondays: 4 p.m. -- 6 p.m. PST / 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. EST / May 3, 10, 17, 24

  • Call 1, May 3: Welcome to the Practice

  • Call 2, May 10: Bird Language Pattern Recognition, Part 1

  • Call 3, May 17: Bird Language Pattern Recognition, Part 2

  • Call 4, May 24: Taking the Practice Home

Optional Daily Sit Spot Practice: We will encourage all participants to adopt a regular at-home sit spot practice. For the month of this course, we will host optional 20-minute guided bird sits online. These calls are offered in support of your home practice. There won’t be additional teaching on these calls -- so if you can’t make them, you won’t be missing out on any content.

WHERE:    Via zoom. We will go outside (or to a window) to practice during most calls. This webinar is intentionally screen-reduced.

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