February 2010 Issue
Margaret Hensel never knows what a day of bird-watching will bring.
And, she says, that’s the fun of it.
The Arcanum resident’s passion for her pastime began 30 years ago when her brother-in-law showed Hensel and her husband, Cliff, the ropes of bird-watching as they vacationed in Oklahoma. Fast-forward three decades, and Hensel can proudly proclaim that she’s spotted 3,500 of the 10,000 bird species existing in the world –– truly a feat to those of us feeling lucky just glimpsing a pigeon at the park.
Hensel, however, isn’t satisfied with her accomplishment. “I’m only a third of the way done,” the 61-year-old says with a smile.
A world traveler who’s journeyed to seven continents, Hensel has seen some of Earth’s rarest birds. The most elusive one she was able to sneak a peek at was the Antarctic petrel, during a trip to the southernmost continent 17 years ago. Other special sightings include the Nicobar pigeon she saw in Thailand in 2007 and the Striated Caracara, spotted during a trip to the Falkland Islands in 1993.
But, although she has adventured across the globe, Hensel’s favorite place to visit with feathered friends is right in her own back yard.
“I love seeing the cardinals that come to my feeder,” she says, admiring the brilliance of Ohio’s state bird.
For Hensel, bird-watching is all about finding beauty and accepting the challenge of learning to identify new species.
And, she adds, hers is a hobby that anyone can engage in. “Get outside,” Hensel says. “Put a feeder in your yard and get a pair of binoculars and a book on birding. You never know what you’ll see.”
Learn more about Hensel’s expeditions and get tips for bird-watching when she presents “Travels with Margaret” at Shawnee Prairie Preserve Nature Center on Feb. 18. The nature center is located at 4267 St. Rte. 502, Greenville 45331. Call 937/548-0165 for more information.