Birding After Knee Replacement Surgery

Pileated Woodpecker

Those of you that follow this website or use the Big Year Birding App know that we post to this site every couple days . . . namely because we are out Birding every couple days.   But we haven’t posted in three weeks . . . here is why.

I have a bad left knee, caused by running almost daily since Middle School.  I’ve finished 4 marathons (dropped out of another), a dozen half marathons, lots of shorter races and approximately 30,000 miles.   Things haven’t been helped by my love pizza, cheeseburgers and beer.

My knee started acting up about 5 years ago.  Surgery only made things worse and running has become increasingly painful and slow.  Even birding has became difficult . . . a three mile hike in California to see the Dancing Grebes was excruciating.

So on March 7, Ingrid drove me to Mercy Hospital in Portland for a complete right knee replacement (I did take my binoculars so I could watch birds out the window in Portland’s Back Bay).

Common Loon in Portland, Maine

The first few weeks of recovery were slow, painful and frustrating . . . as you can’t do much but lie on your back and ice the knee. Walkers, canes and physical therapy makes birding impossible.

Today, 19 day out, I grabbed my binoculars and camera and went out for a late afternoon local birding excursion . . . and it was great to get out.

My birding juices started flowing when a Pileated Woodpecker visited our suet feeder . . . a first.  We’ve had Red-Bellied, Hairy, and Snowy Woodpeckers and even an occasional Northern Flicker, but never a Pileated.  Normally a very skittish bird, this one hung around for 10 minutes.

The afternoon excursion produced a First of the Year White-Throated Sparrow, a Common Grackle and an American Robin (spring is coming).

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