Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Bird Watching




We are finished with Leah's science project which is good. She did quite well and was so very proud of her project. What the project did for us was make everyone more aware of the variety of birds that share our yard with us. There are so many birds that busy themselves outside being able to identify them is a good skill to develop. Over the weeks that her project data was collected Leah became very aware of those birds visiting her feeders. At first she was frustrated. All those birds look alike if you don't really look at them. After a few lessons from Mama she was able to identify the birds quickly. We were able to catch a few of our favorites on film. The downey woodpecker by far is the most interesting. We hear him year round banging on the trees but seeing him is difficult. This little guy is quite the busy one in our back yard. He is there every day checking the trees for bugs and sneaking a few seeds from our feeders. Winter is the best time to see a woodpecker because the lack of leaves provides a great unobstructed view of the tree trunks. The most numerous birds in our yard are the dark eyed juncos and American goldfinches. They have been so very fond of those feeders. The goldfinches are messy and argumentative with each other. The juncos are the clean up crew. They prefer to ground feed so they happily eat what those feisty perching birds drop. I can't get enough of watching those juncos gathering up the dropped seeds. They just work so hard munching away. We've drawn the attention of the neighborhood mourning doves too. There are 4 mating pairs that have formed a little flock. They visit house by house every feeder all day long. I have figured out their pattern. Visit everyone else and end with us. By supper time they are out back cleaning up dropped seed. I think they must roost in the woods behind us making our feeders a nice last stop.

As the weather warms more birds will make their way back to our area giving us some new friends to identify. We won't keep our feeders out much longer. Currently our feeders hold the very last of our bird feed. Once it's gone we'll take the feeders down, wash them, then store them for summer. Our feeders may be gone for the season but don't worry about those birds. We have big plans for them. Big plans for providing flowering and seed bearing plants that will encourage those birds to continue to visit our yard. Maybe we'll put out a bird bath. Although that is tricky given the lurking nature of the not-ours cat Sun. Sun often drinks from bird baths making it not so inviting. That kitty, always being a bit over welcome. Maybe I'll just stick to the flowers.

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