Slow Birding: Reimagining Our Connection With Birds

Bridget Butler
Bridget Butler

Presented by Bridget Butler

April 8, 2022

5:30 p.m.

Reamer Auditorium, Reamer Campus Center

Union College


Bridget Butler, aka The Bird Diva, will share her path to creating Slow Birding, a mindful practice focused on deep observation beyond identification, connecting with the landscape, and connecting with self. Her practice came together over many years of feeling that traditional list-driven, even conservation-driven, birding was unfulfilling and not the way she was birding on her own. Now, Bridget facilitates online courses and workshops that celebrate finding joy and awe in whatever bird is present, creating a more inclusive opportunity for anyone to see themselves as a birder.

Bridget Butler, aka The Bird Diva, has been working in conservation and environmental education for more than 20 years throughout New England. Through her business Bird Diva Consulting, she delivers presentations, leads bird outings, and brings her signature program Slow Birding to a broader audience. Bridget has worked for the Audubon Society in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and helped create Audubon Vermont’s Forest Bird Initiative. Bridget has been a guest on a number of podcasts talking about Slow Birding, including the American Birding Podcast, Talkin’ Birds with Ray Brown, and the South African podcast This Birding Life. Currently, she serves on the Green Mountain Audubon Society Board and is a member of the Vermont Rare Bird Records Committee. She feels it’s important that the birding community continues to strive to diversify what it means to be a birder and that this variety of perspectives will bring a richer set of strategies to bird conservation. Bridget lives in St. Albans with her husband and three young children who she’s grooming to be the next caretakers of this wild world!

Slow Birding Presentation Resource List & Quotes
by Bird Diva Bridget Butler

Books mentioned in the presentation:

Peterson Birding By Impression by Kevin T. Karlson & Dale Rosselet

What the Robin Knows by John Young

Zen Birding by David M. White and Susan M. Guyette

The Art of Mindful Birdwatching by Claire Thompson

Smartphone Apps:

Merlin – Bird identification for North American birds with sound ID and spectrograms

BirdNET – Bird song identification app for iOS & Android

Quotes from the presentation:

“The possession of ears does not guarantee its (listening) effectiveness.”
“Nothing is so basic as the education of the senses, and of these, hearing is among the most important.”
~ R. Murray Schafer, musician, composer & acoustic ecologist. From: A Sound Education: 100 Exercises In Listening & Sound Making

“The faster one goes, the more strain there is on the senses, the more they fail to take in, the more confusion they
must tolerate or gloss over – and the longer it takes to bring the mind to a stop in the presence of anything.”
~ Wendell Berry, American novelist, essayist, and environmental activist. From: An Entrance to the Woods by Wendell Berry

Book List from The Her-story of Birding Presentation
By Bridget Butler


Birds Through An Opera Glass – 1890
A-Birding On a Bronco – 1896
Birds of New Mexico – 1928
On Goodreads:

Bird-Ways – 1885
A Bird-Lover In the West – 1894
The First Book of Birds – 1899
On Goodreads:

The Friendship of Nature: A New England Chronicle of Birds and Flowers – 1894
Birdcraft – 1895
Citizen Bird (with Elliott Coues) – 1897
On Goodreads:

Additional reading including BIPOC related books:

Birdwatching With American Women by Deborah Strom

At Home On This Earth: Two Centuries of U.S. Women’s Nature Writing Edited by Lorraine Anderson and Thomas S. Edwards

No Woman Tenderfoot: Florence Merriam Bailey, Pioneer Naturalist by Harriet Kofalk

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney

Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy

Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England Edited by Siobhan Senier

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