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The Birding Pants

I was getting ready to leave on a four-day bird nerd extravaganza and photo odyssey when I realized that, thanks to general wear and tear and a few run ins with some barbed wire, I was down to two pair of birding pants. I know, who knew that birding required a specific uniform, but for me and my plod around style, I’ve discovered that trekking through the brush requires light weight pants that will dry quickly in case I find myself sitting in a puddle of water or wet grass in an effort to get that perfect photo, and also not collect sticky things (i.e., sticker burrs). So, I headed down to Academy to stock up. After roaming around the ladies section I discovered that I was in a bit of a quandary as my available choices weren't quite up to snuff. The biggest issue is that for whatever reason, the ladies outdoor pants are made from a material that seems to have some sort of magnetic ability to attract every sticker burr within a 2-mile radius of my location… believe me, I speak from personal experience on this! Not wanting to spend the better part of my trip de-stickering my pants, I was considering my options when I recalled a recent jeans incident involving my husband’s pants. You see, in my haste to get our laundry put away one day I accidently hung his jeans in my section of the closet and getting ready for work a few mornings later, I grabbed them and slipped them on, only to discover, to my horror, that they fit. That whole debacle is a topic for another story, but it did get me to thinking that I might have some options in the Mens section of the store.

A little sheepishly, I wandered over, telling myself that if anyone asked, I would simply say that I was shopping for my husband. Low and behold, I found the perfect pants! Quick dry material… check! Back pocket to hold my phone… check! Extra bonus of pants to short conversion zipper… check!

Slinking off to the changing room with a few size options in hand, I tried them on. Happily (maybe, really, I guess it depends on how I feel about wearing mens pants in the first place) the smaller of my size options fit. Score.

Wandering back, again under the guise of shopping for the hubs, I grabbed an assortment of colors and quickly (really quickly) dashed up to the registers to check out before anyone questioned me.

When I got home and away from the prying eyes of strangers that I’m sure knew the truth of my purchases and were secretly judging me, I had a chance to really examine my new purchase and discovered quite a few surprises.

First, the “included at no extra charge” mesh belt is hiding a tape measure on the backside. It got me to wondering what the purpose of it is. When I first noticed it, I thought that maybe it was to help guys cut the belt to the right length, but then I saw that it was indeed a tape measure starting at 1” and going on to a (I refuse to disclose) higher number that spans the length of the belt. Really, what’s the purpose? Is it to save the wearer from peril, allowing him to MacGyver himself out of a death-defying situation requiring him to know the exact length of tape needed to defuse a bomb? The pants do have a lot of pockets with plenty of storage space for Duck Tape. Although, I have to say that if impending death is mere seconds away the handy-dandy, trusty tape measure is going to be problematic as it took me several minutes to get it free from the tight belt loops. Maybe there’s a quick release trick I just haven't discovered yet.

Second discovery: the zip off pant legs have tabs indicating left leg and right leg making the re-application process (for me anyway) at least 50% faster as there’s no trial and error involved in trying to figure out which lower part belongs to which upper part.

Truly, I'm digging these pants.

And then there’s the pockets. Lots and lots of pockets. Really, why can’t girl pants be so practical? My old “favorite” pants don't have built in tape measures, handy-dandy leg re-application tabs, or half the pockets of my new pants. But then, I don’t feel prying eyes guessing my secret and judging me while shopping either. Who knew that birding could lead to such social quandaries, but, regardless, I have enough pants to allow me to start out each day’s adventure looking clean and ship-shape. And who knows, if I do find myself in a MacGyver situation, I am more than ready… if I can just figure out the quick release trick!

About the author

Cheryl Johnson

Cheryl Johnson

Cheryl Johnson has developed quite a following as a wildlife photographer working under the pseudonym “Backyard Bird Nerd.” Her photos have been featured in magazines, websites, and art galleries. As the owner of an advertising agency, writing has always been a part of her life and career. Her literary work has included producing text for websites, brochures, television and radio commercials, and a variety of magazines articles. Delving into the world of children's literature has been an exciting and challenging adventure, and pairing these books with her love of photography has proven to be the perfect outlet for her passions and talents. When not prowling around in nature looking for something to “fly” by her lens, she lives in South Texas with her husband, two daughters, and dog.

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Cheryl Johnson

Cheryl Johnson

P.O. Box 3926
Victoria, Texas 77903

If you would like to see my books or art, please stop by my offices Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm
Outburst Advertising
5003 John Stockbauer, Suite J
Victoria, Texas 77904


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