Support and Learning during COVID-19

Birding with a Disability

An impairment should not be a barrier to those who want to get outside

"I've had physical disabilities," says Arkansas birder and photographer Candace Casey. But she didn't let that stop her from pursuing her hobbies. "At one point I was running up and down the Arkansas River Trail in an electric wheelchair. People never knew it unless they saw me. I was still getting flight shots of raptors." She's walking now, but there are days when she has to take it easy.

Living with a disability doesn't mean living without birding. For Candace, her pursuit of birds motivates her to get outside and exercise more. "The more you move, the more you will move," she says. "My birding interest pushes on that." In addition, photography helps her remember what the birds look like and remember the places she has visited.

"We are living in an area that has numerous opportunities for people with disabilities." In Arkansas, she suggests birding by ADA accessible trail, by car through a wildlife management area or national wildlife refuge, or even by boat on an Arkansas State Park cruise. Candace also recommends an app called Alltrails that helps you find a trail to meet your needs. National Audubon hosts a "birdability" map where anyone can share accessible outdoor spaces.

Go birding as you are able.

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