Birds, birds, beautiful birds. Shakespeare's work contains 606 references to birds. Atwood and Franzen are politically active birders and Darwin's obsession with the thing with feathers contributed to his solving the jigsaw of evolution! We are lucky to be living in an age where you can still sight Northern Parulas, Pileated Woodpeckers and Red-necked Grebes. Birding engages almost all of your senses and gives back such a high degree of aesthetic satisfaction. You are outdoors, perhaps all day, looking, listening, seeing and then experiencing the aha momentof identification. This is Buddhist mindfulness to the highest degree. There are many great birding guides and for the beginning birder it's hard to figure out which one is for you. Because I'm addicted I have a whole shelf full of bird guides, but the two that I find the most useful are Sibley's Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern America and Birds of North America by Kenn Kaufman. Sibley renders birds through water colour and Kaufman through changing photos digitally. Both are invaluable!