Skip to main content

Parental Bird Watching

Nov 22, 2011 01:44PM, Published by Mike, Categories: Life+Leisure, Today




by Rafe Hembree
My hunting career began when I was 4 years old under the leadershipof my father. To some, that might seem like a very early age to introduce a child to the sport but to others, like me, it seems instinctive. Now, when I say hunting, I mean "Hunting" in every literal aspect of the word. Basically my job was being a glorified spotter for my Dad who was the only one in the stand with a firearm. Truth is that I didn't take my first deer until age 7 but it was fun to go and I always looked forward to it.

It was frustrating too, but growing up, it slowly dawned on me what my Dad was doing. He was doing his job as a Father by taking me outdoors to personally pass on traditions and educate me on life outside. The same ideas and beliefs that I hope I can instill in my children as they grow up. These core values of nature and wildlife conservation will help protect our world as we hunters and fisherman know it. Hopefully, I'll do a good enough job that they'll in turn want to pass down their knowledge.

In today's world though, these outdoor excursions are going to be met with some challenges. For instance, one of my friends took his son out hunting last year for the first time and he had what he called a good experience. His boy, like most kids, enjoyed the first 15-20 minutes but quickly lost interest when "nothing was moving" for him to see. Once the dad's patience wore off, he reached into his hunting coat and magically pulled out his son's iTouch complete with a set of headphones. From that moment on, his son kept his head down and into whatever was channelling through the headphones. The dad surprisingly was ok with this. I guess I can't overlook the fact that they were having some Father-Son time, but how great was the quality of time there. There's a fine line between parenting definitions that I'll refrain from crossing here.

Back in the pre-iTouch ages when I was bored while hunting with my Dad, he obviously had to come up with a different strategy. By trade, my Dad was a Rancher/ Real Estate broker but he got a Masters in Biology from A&M which is why I think he deterred my boredom the tactic he used. After my 15-20 minutes of initial quiet time wore off, I'd start shifting around in my seat and endlessly uttering these sighs of disgust. That's when the tides turned and the Biologist in my Dad would come out. He'd get me quiet and then we'd listen for birds whistling and chatting near our hunting spot. We'd slowly look in the direction of the birds and then he'd have me identify them sometimes with the help of binoculars. He'd have a little note pad and a pencil that he sharpened with his pocketknife and we'd log down the ones we could identify. As I got a couple years older, we even took this elementary effort at "birding" a step further.

B. Dalton Bookstore opened a location not far from my hometown (2 Hrs was the nearest quality mall) and the first book my Dad bought there was a National Audubon Society Bird Book. Naturally, he got the edition that was specific to Texas and the southwest. I thought this book was the key to my happiness in the deer stand. The book had fantastic pictures, descriptions of habitats, migration periods, etc.. Now, I could not only identify the birds that I saw, I could tell you what they ate, how they sounded and when they were headed back North if they were going to do so. It made my already long list of identified species get even longer. As a caveat to my relief from the deer stand boredom, my "bird book" helped me as a hunter as well. It had all the migratory and non-migratory duck in it too so I'd know what was in season and what wasn't. Guess you could say it kept me legal to an extent.

2013 year will be my first year to take my son (for the record, age 5) hunting with me and I'm already preparing for his first experiences. We'll use the same Audubon book that I used as I still carry it in my backpack today. He'll learn by thumbing through it the same way that I did, along with some field glasses and pencil that I'll probably sharpen with my pocketknife. The pages are a little bent and the pictures are somewhat faded, but it still holds up to the exploratory nature of wanting to know what kind of bird is in that tree or making that sound. When he gets older, he can compare it to the birds that I saw when I was his age and then try to identify even more. Oh, and just in case, if you're like my friend who's son can't live without the iTouch, they have an APP for that. Yes, for $0.99, you can download an APP that'll help you begin your career in Bird Watching. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hunting!

Southlake's Rafe Hembree is a born and raised Texan, husband and father of two.  Rafe, a Texas Tech alumn, has been hunting and fishing since he was knee high to a praire dog. A true outdoorsman and conservationist, he travels the world in search of the best hunting and fishing locales, especially for his favorite activity - Saltwater Fly Fishing. A volunteer guide with Reel Recovery Rafe looks forward to sharing his experiences with family, friends and readers of Southlake Style.




  • Dine For Dragons: May 30

    05/30/2017
    07:00AM — 12:00AM

    Eat in. Take out. Help fuel Carroll Education Foundation with every meal on May 30. Restaurants p...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Each pair of new or gently used shoes donated puts us one step closer to our goal of providing Em...


  • PARTY ON!

    06/02/2017
    07:00PM — 10:30PM

    Join us each Friday night for our weekly ballroom dance party! A great mix of ballroom, latin, c...


  • Downward Facing Dad

    06/04/2017
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    A fun-filled class for children and their fathers at the FlyKids Yoga studio! And an early treat ...


  • Each pair of new or gently used shoes donated puts us one step closer to our goal of providing Em...


  • Dine For Dragons: May 30

    05/30/2017
    07:00AM — 12:00AM

    Eat in. Take out. Help fuel Carroll Education Foundation with every meal on May 30. Restaurants p...


  • Each pair of new or gently used shoes donated puts us one step closer to our goal of providing Em...


  • Each pair of new or gently used shoes donated puts us one step closer to our goal of providing Em...


  • PARTY ON!

    06/02/2017
    07:00PM — 10:30PM

    Join us each Friday night for our weekly ballroom dance party! A great mix of ballroom, latin, c...


  • Summer Kickoff

    06/03/2017
    12:00AM

    Get ready for the City of Southlake to kick off summer with a big bang boom! This year’s annual e...


  • Conquer the Gauntlet

    06/03/2017
    12:00AM

    Jogging is like an easy stroll in the park compared to Conquer the Gauntlet, a grueling four-mil...


  • 2017 Mansfield Farmers Market

    06/03/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    In continuous operation since 2004, the Mansfield Farmers Market has experienced a renaissance in...


  • Yard Sale Fund raiser for the Mansfield Historical Society and Museum June 3rd 210 N. Smith...


  • Crawfish Boil

    06/03/2017
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    Grand Prairie's annual Crawfish Boil features freshly boiled crawfish accompanied by potatoes and...


  • Medallion Help-Create - School is Out!

    06/03/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Hip, hip, hooray! School is out for summer! Vetro is celebrating summer break with fire and flame...


  • Saturday, June 3, 2017 The Perot Museum TECH Truck engages youth in hands-on, maker-based scie...


  • Spotlight on Hissing Roaches!

    06/03/2017
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Also known as Hissers, these cockroaches are actually clean and don't bite! Come learn all about ...


  • Big Bang Boom

    06/03/2017
    05:30PM — 07:30PM

    WHO: Big Bang Boom, parent-friendly children’s music WHAT: MasterWorks Concert Series ...


  • | Country and rap music has never sounded so good together! If you are a fan of both genres, you ...


  • Downward Facing Dad

    06/04/2017
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    A fun-filled class for children and their fathers at the FlyKids Yoga studio! And an early treat ...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/05/2017
    09:00AM

    All summer long, and during other school breaks, we will be holding half day camps and week long ...


  • Animal Family Art Week

    06/05/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join the Art House all week long for fun with animal art! Projects for the week include three lit...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/05/2017
    09:00AM

    Throughout the year Art House provides art camps for ages 5-16. During school breaks, and through...


  • Each pair of new or gently used shoes donated puts us one step closer to our goal of providing Em...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/06/2017
    09:00AM

    All summer long, and during other school breaks, we will be holding half day camps and week long ...


  • Animal Family Art Week

    06/06/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join the Art House all week long for fun with animal art! Projects for the week include three lit...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/06/2017
    09:00AM

    Throughout the year Art House provides art camps for ages 5-16. During school breaks, and through...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/07/2017
    09:00AM

    All summer long, and during other school breaks, we will be holding half day camps and week long ...


  • Animal Family Art Week

    06/07/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join the Art House all week long for fun with animal art! Projects for the week include three lit...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/07/2017
    09:00AM

    Throughout the year Art House provides art camps for ages 5-16. During school breaks, and through...


  • Each pair of new or gently used shoes donated puts us one step closer to our goal of providing Em...


  • Summer Reading: Playdate with Ronald McDonald

    06/07/2017
    10:30AM — 12:00PM

    Playdate with Ronald McDonald: Wednesday, June 7, at 10:30 a.m.


  • Enjoy lunch and a discussion about: • Hip and Knee Pain • Different Types of Arthritis • Joi...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/08/2017
    09:00AM

    All summer long, and during other school breaks, we will be holding half day camps and week long ...


  • Animal Family Art Week

    06/08/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join the Art House all week long for fun with animal art! Projects for the week include three lit...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/08/2017
    09:00AM

    Throughout the year Art House provides art camps for ages 5-16. During school breaks, and through...


  • Symphony Arlington KidsNotes

    06/08/2017
    10:30AM

    KidsNotes is a one-hour program that begins with the reading of a book such as, “Zin! Zin! Zin! A...


  • Household Hazardous Waste Dropoff

    06/08/2017
    03:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Environmental Collection Center is the City's permanent drop off facility for unwanted househ...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/09/2017
    09:00AM

    All summer long, and during other school breaks, we will be holding half day camps and week long ...


  • Animal Family Art Week

    06/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join the Art House all week long for fun with animal art! Projects for the week include three lit...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/09/2017
    09:00AM

    Throughout the year Art House provides art camps for ages 5-16. During school breaks, and through...


  • Each pair of new or gently used shoes donated puts us one step closer to our goal of providing Em...


  • Household Hazardous Waste Dropoff

    06/09/2017
    03:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Environmental Collection Center is the City's permanent drop off facility for unwanted househ...


  • PARTY ON!

    06/09/2017
    07:00PM — 10:30PM

    Join us each Friday night for our weekly ballroom dance party! A great mix of ballroom, latin, c...


  • 2017 Mansfield Farmers Market

    06/10/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    In continuous operation since 2004, the Mansfield Farmers Market has experienced a renaissance in...


  • HillsideFIT: June Run Club

    06/10/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Get geared up for summer with Hillside Village‘s HillsideFIT, a free fitness series taught by exp...


  • Mulch Madness

    06/10/2017
    08:30AM — 11:30AM

    Mansfield Water Utilities offers FREE mulch to Mansfield residents. Proof of residency required. ...


  • Dragon Boat Festival

    06/10/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Dragon Boating is back for year four in Grand Prairie, TX! The 4th annual Grand Prairie Dragon ...


  • Household Hazardous Waste Dropoff

    06/10/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    The Environmental Collection Center is the City's permanent drop off facility for unwanted househ...


  • Medallion Help-Create - School is Out!

    06/10/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Hip, hip, hooray! School is out for summer! Vetro is celebrating summer break with fire and flame...


  • Gates open at 2pm | showtime 4pm $35 general admission $45 preferred viewing $70 vip seating...


  • Please join us in sharing our vision of Freedom Life Church launching in Mansfield September 2017...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/12/2017
    09:00AM

    All summer long, and during other school breaks, we will be holding half day camps and week long ...


  • Summer Art Camps

    06/12/2017
    09:00AM

    Throughout the year Art House provides art camps for ages 5-16. During school breaks, and through...


  • Masterpiece Yoga - Morning Session

    06/12/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Creative yogis will delight in this camp. Blending yoga and art, campers will create artwork thro...


  • Each pair of new or gently used shoes donated puts us one step closer to our goal of providing Em...


  • Operation Kindness' Kamp Kindness

    06/12/2017
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    Kamp Kindness hosted by Operation Kindness offers children ages 7 to 12 the opportunity to learn ...


  • Masterpiece Yoga - Afternoon Session

    06/12/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Creative yogis will delight in this camp. Blending yoga and art, campers will create artwork thro...


Read This Month's Digital Issue