Owls and Robins and Chickdees, oh my!
How many birds can you identify that live around you? Growing up in a coastal city, I was most sure about pigeons, geese, ducks, and seagulls. I remember trips to the park to feed the ducks, chuckling to myself as tourists took photos of pigeons perched on statues, and a news release by an animal protection group around Thanksgiving time when a wild goose was found dead (there was an implication that someone had been considering it for their holiday meal). After spending time in the mountains as a teenager, I got to know some ruby-throated hummingbirds, yellow grosbeaks, robins and chickadees. I loved knowing that the robins arrival heralded Spring and warmer weather and never tired of watching the hummingbirds zoom from feeder to nearby branches, or the grosbeaks hop head first down the tree trunks. Moving westward as an adult, I have come to love watching the red-tailed hawks soar over wide open spaces. There are so many more birds to get to know!
Bird watching can be a fun activity to get into with children. It involves getting outdoors, exploring, observing, keeping notes, and ever artwork. It can be a way to enjoy some quiet time as well as connecting with others. And it can be very interesting! Who doesn’t dream of flying? There are different kinds of nests, and migratory patterns to observe. You can draw them or build houses and feeders. Last Fall, my daughter became very interested in
owls, which led us on a fascinating journey to learn about the ones that live around us. We went to a natural history museum and sanctuary, listened to owl calls, built a barred owl house. She wrote a book about owls of our region and was even an ornithologist for Halloween!
As with so many things, getting started can be daunting. So I was excited this week to hear about the Great Backyard Bird Count! It is a Citizen Scientist (I’ll be talking more about what this means soon) initiative that anyone can take part in. From February 17th to 20th, 2017, you can observe, count and record the birds you see and by entering them into the database, you will be contributing to a snapshot of bird populations! Visit the website for more details on how to participate. I also saw some links on there that we will be exploring with bird lists by locale, descriptions, birding apps and more.
Over the next week I’ll be sharing some fun facts and resources about birds so check back in here and join me on Facebook!