Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bird Watching

When I was younger, I thought bird watching was lame, something nerdy that people without a 'life' did. But I've loved birds my entire life. I was always aware of the birds in the area in which I lived and loved to be still and watch them. Once retired, I learned about Project Feeder Watch through Cornell University's Ornithology Lab and felt I could finally put my interest to a good use and it doesn't feel lame at all. In fact, it feels rather great to be helping scientists track what is happening to our North American birds. Can you imagine a world without birds? Unfortunately some are disappearing so if I can help in my little way, then it's worth the time spent.

The citizen scientist program doesn't take alot of time - just some time of your choosing on two consecutive days per month at the least; and as much more as you desire with some scheduling restrictions. With this process, I've learned the names & habits of common birds for our area of Nebraska, the thrill of seeing a predator swoop down to catch one of my feeding birds not always successfully, or seeing and identifying an unusual bird for our area.

For instance, today is a count day for me. It is in the low 20s with some freezing rain and wind. I've only seen 5 chickadees, 1 white breasted nuthatch, l blue jay, 5 juncos and 1 house finch so far. The rest, I'm sure, are tucked in somewhere warm but these ventured out for water and food.

If you have school age children or grandchildren who visit, this can be a wonderful introduction to bird watching and nature. Children are drawn to birds and so the educational part is easy with them. Project Feeder Watch has a program for school kids too. It can be an interesting way to get a kid interested in science too.

When I watch Lucas, now almost 2 1/2, he loves to sit at the french doors and watch the bird activity. He also loves to run after my chickens! The above picture was taken last winter.

Consider this contemplative nature activity in your life and check out Project Feeder Watch in the video above.

Happy bird watching,

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