Friday, February 7, 2014

Bird Nerd

Late last Fall, I took on a new hobby - even though I forbade myself from adding anything extra to my plate.  But this, in all honesty, has been one of the easiest and most rewarding experiences I've taken on to date.  I'm talking about FeederWatch or more specifically birdwatching and counting for the Cornell Bird Lab.  
I love, love birds - my store is name Nest, so how could I not.  We purchased a small bird feeder last Spring and it was so enjoyable watching our resident birds; we even had a family of Cardinals we watch raise their young who still remain with us.  So, stepping up my game, I heard about FeederWatch and joined in the Fall - I'll submit counts through April.  This data will be used to help understand migratory patterns, disease, and general bird behavior.  
American Goldfinch
As of this date, I have identified 23 species (probably more, but I can only report what I see on count days).  Even in our tiny microcosm of our yard we can see bird populations building and waning as they pass on through.  Residents have been our Cardinal family, Mourning doves, and sweet little Carolina Chickadees.  
Peggy, our one legged Cardinal - yes, she really has only one leg!

A few surprises have been Inca Doves, which are a bit of a rarity this far East, a huge influx of yellow rumped warblers, and ruby crowned kinglets.
Inca Dove
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Frankly I never noticed these birds before this opportunity and now I'm glad to recognize them and their unique behaviors.
Eastern Towhee
I'm babbling on with a purpose - today the Cornell Lab announced anyone that signs up for this season's count in February (there is still time to count!) will get next year's count for free!  That's a really good deal - and any count, even if you did it once a season would help!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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