I have to admit that before I became a gardener, I didn't pay much attention to the natural world. I mean, I thought the beach was pretty and the mountains were awesome...but I was more interested in the displays at Burdines and Express. (Those were thinner, younger days...) Gradually my attention shifted to Williams-Sonoma and Barnes and Noble, but still not much outdoors. It's a shame, because Florida has such amazing flora and fauna, and I "squandered" the better part of 26 years paying little attention to it. Well, I'm making up for lost time now that I live in New England!
One of my more recent purchases was a bird book for Massachusetts so that I could recognize some of the many birds that visit our yard. Today I actually made a positive identification! European Starlings landed in a flock in our front yard and proceeded to chitter and peck for about fifteen minutes. They were fearless, not even flinching at the whining of our dog. Their beaks are seriously sharp looking, and I read that they change colors depending on the seasons. The book didn't say why, so I'll have to look it up. There must have been about 40 of them. Very cool. (Even if they are non-native and aggressive, they're still pretty neat.) It makes me want to make sure that I have a variety of plants (and feeders) so that I can attract even more. This gardening thing seems to touch of so many different topics: food, wildlife, environmental issues, health. I'm so glad I started!