Monday, October 23, 2006

Good Eats - A Tale of Bird(ing) Food

When you bird with other people, it's always interesting to see what they bring along for "fuel". In my opinion, good munchies are an essential companion on a day, weekend, or month of birding. But what qualifies as good munchies? Let's break it down into categories:

Energy Foods
Power bars, Clif bars, Balance bars... whichever of the 3 trillion varieties suits your needs, these are a great way to get you started on waking up for that dawn chorus or for keeping you going on a Big Day. I usually try to start my day with one of these, but leave the sugary snacks to keep me going.

Natural Foods
Birders by nature have a tendency towards natural foods. Is it because birders tend to be the type of people who prefer natural foods? Is it because we feel we are doing our environment a service by not eating preservative-laden crap? Or are we trying to become one with the birds by sharing their diet? Whatever it is, many birders flock to fruit, bags of nuts and seeds, trail mix, granola bars, and anything with the word "organic" in the title. I have no problem with these. I always have some Sweet & Salty Nut Bars along with me. They aren't the most "natural" natural food, but they're yummy.

Plain Ol' Snack Foods
Chips, candy, pretzels, cookies, cakes... all of these things are bad for you in large quantities, but I always seem to find room for one of them in my birding menu. For some reason, I look at birding as a special time and I always treat myself to a "bad" snack. It doesn't help that I probably have the worst sweet tooth of anyone on earth. I have 2 preferred snacks. Jelly Belly jelly beans are #1. They rule. It's that simple. I'll save #2 for a section below. I don't see as many birders flocking to the snack foods. Is it just me?

Yes, I love them this much. Yes, I know I'm a dork.

Lunch for me is usually one of two things: a turkey & cheese sub from Wawa or a peanut butter & jelly sandwich made at home. For some reason, this has always been what I ate birding and it's served me well. I see most birders also go the sandwich route, but I've seen others enjoying salads.

Good Luck Food
I'll admit that I'm a bit superstitious when it comes to birding. I have lucky hats and lucky shirts. Most imporantly, I have a lucky snack - Rold Gold Honey Wheat Pretzels. Not only do they taste awesome, they also magically summon lifers. It started on a weekend trip to Cape May several years ago. I brought a bag of these along and had an amazing weekend. I saw 16 species of sparrow in one day and my first Golden Eagle. I tallied over 100 species that day. I brought them again to many trips afterwards and always seemed to see great birds. They're now a staple food of our World Series team, but we haven't done so great. Maybe the power of the pretzel is limited to weekend trips. Do you have a "good luck food"?

Any birding munchies to recommend? Leave a comment!

Finally, I'd like to apologize to Mike from for not having a sufficient supply of snacks on our trip to Sandy Hook a few weeks ago.


Mike said...

No apology necessary, Patrick. Though I didn't recall it at the time, I was carrying my preferred birding snack - Certs Cool Mint Drops (not much of a snack, I know.) The completely soaked pack is still in my car; it looks like somthing tried to chew its way out, but the mints were thankfully unharmed.

Patrick Belardo said...

Hmm... you seem to see lots of birds, so I'll have to try some of those mints (soaking wet or otherwise).