Thursday, November 17, 2005

My Project FeederWatch Is Underway!

Last year I missed participating in Project FeederWatch. So today I began my real first experience officially tabulating the birds coming to my backyard. Since my backyard bird feeding has been purely a recreational pasttime, I haven't spent a lot of effort trying to identify every bird that visits us. Sometimes it just isn't convenient to drop everything and run for the binoculars.

So, to be truthful, I was really surprised today as I sat and really focused on every movement I saw. With my trusty field guides laying nearby I discovered the exact species of sparrow that has been hanging around. With age, my 20-20 vision has faded a bit so it is pretty difficult to get a clear picture of small things at a distance. So I really didn't know that the sparrows I see frequently over in one corner of my yard are White-crowed sparrows. Granted, they are a very common species. But until I sat and really studied them I had no idea how really attractive they are. And also how interesting to watch. They were scratching around on the ground, busy as bees. But one decided that the warm California sun was just too hard to resist and he spread his wings and hunkered down close to the ground ... and just lay there for awhile. I chose to believe he was sun-bathing, but I have read that birds will use ants to help rid themselves of mites. So maybe he'd found an ant colony and was encouraging the ants to help him groom. Hard to tell, but it is an interesting thought. But no matter what he was doing he definitely looked like he was enjoying himself.

Today I saw White-crowned sparrows, California Towhees, Lesser Goldfinches, Oak Titmouse, Purple Finches, Mockingbirds and Anna's Hummingbirds during the time I could spend today watching for birds to report to the Cornell Lab.

I thought it would be an interesting project and was looking forward to it. But honestly, I'm really surprised at how much I really did enjoy it. I can't wait to watch tomorrow. Then I'll have to wait for at least 5 days before I can do another 2-day stretch of official bird watching. Afterall, to be a citizen scientist you must follow the rules.

If you love birdwatching, and like to feed birds in your backyard, or are devoted to pet birds don't miss

1 comment:

Faira said...

Wow! Your bird garden, looks like our bird garden,LOL. And I didn't think anyone was as avid at it, as we are.
I think we spend as much money on feeding our wild birds here as we do feeding our three cats and one dog.

We have seperate feeding stations throughout our gardens to feed every local bird imaginable. And I seperate, the aggressive and the non agressive birds by food favorites and smart feeders! I love it ... and if you don't mind I will add your Blog to my Blogs side bar!