Saturday, December 8, 2007

This morning is for the birds!

It's a pretty start to the day, with the snow still white and clean. The sun is shining for now, but we've got some nasty weather on the way tonight, with rain, sleet, and freezing rain. I'm glad I'm not working this weekend, and I hope my coworkers and anyone else who has to be out and about will be safe and sound.

The birds were really active when we first got up. They were flocking around the feeders and birdbath. (One of the best things you can do for your birds in the winter is give them a heated birdbath for a source of water. One February, I looked out and saw six bluebirds sitting on the bath!) Lots of chickadees, finches, juncos, cardinals, blue jays, and various woodpeckers, including a Northern Flicker.

While I'm on the subject, I encourage all bird watchers to participate in the Great Backyard Birdcount on February 15-18. It's a way to do a little bit of research for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They track trends in species populations and changes in migratory patterns. I've done it for a few years now, and I really enjoy it. I put out lots of food, including thistle, sunflower seed, suet, and peanuts in the shell, and I usually spend two or three hours total in counting. Sometimes I even see a bird I haven't seen before (last year I saw a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker). If you go to the web site, you can print out checklists for your area. After you're done, you enter your counts on the site, and they compile the results for the entire country. I find it interesting to see how our counts compare from year to year. Try it--it's fun!

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