Today I discovered this interesting article from National Wildlife Federation magazine called Top Spring Birding Spots. Yes, Spring has sprung –even if Reno is expecting snow tomorrow! Closer to home — We had fun this weekend watching the quail and house finches at the bird feeders. The cottontail bunny family was active, too. The baby is so cute! Kids love to look for birds. They learn so quickly what to look for, too! I have other blogs on this subject. Check here.
A great place to fish or birdwatch with Grandpa is Horseshoe Lake in Southern Illinois near Cairo. It has lots of large-mouth bass and catfish. The whole lake is 4 feet deep (3 ft average). It used to be part of the Mississippi River. There are 15 bald eagles in the Horseshoe Lake area in winter – they like the over 150,000 Canadian Geese that show up too! There is another Horseshoe Lake closer to St. Louis that has Cahokian significance and also the same kind of outdoor experiences available: fishing, boating, hiking, camping, birding and picnic areas.
Kids can count the birds in the backyard! The Great Backyard Bird Count is to be held from February 15-18, 2019. Anyone anywhere in the world can count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and enter their sightings at www.BirdCount.org. This would be a great classroom or family activity! Here’s How to Participate.
Winter finch “irruption” will be a highlight for many
For release: January 24, 2019
New York, NY, Ithaca, NY, and Port Rowan, ON —The 22nd Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place from Friday, February 15 through Monday, February 18. Volunteers from around the world are invited to count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org. Anyone with internet access can participate, no matter what their skill level—it’s a great family activity, too.
In the United States and Canada, 2019 bird lists are more likely to include sightings of winter finches and grosbeaks that are moving farther south than usual in what’s called an “irruption.” This type of movement is often sparked by poor cone, seed, and berry crops in parts of Canada.
“This year is a very exciting one for backyard birders in the East, headlined by the largest Evening Grosbeak movement in at least two decades,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program. “From Atlantic Canada to North Carolina, these colorful feeder visitors have been making a splash.”
Although seed crops were better in western Canada, eBird maps still show significant number of Evening Grosbeaks are now being reported in the West all the way down to the border with Mexico. eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by the GBBC.
This also an above-average year for Red Crossbills, Common Redpolls, Pine Grosbeaks, Common and Hoary Redpolls, and Red-breasted Nuthatches.”The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way for all bird watchers to contribute to a global database of bird populations,” says Dr. Gary Langham, vice president and chief scientist for the National Audubon Society. “Participants in the Great Backyard Bird Count help scientists understand how things like climate change are impacting bird populations so we can better inform our conservation efforts.”
During the 2018 count, bird watchers from more than 100 countries submitted more than 180,000 bird checklists reporting a record 6,456 species–more than half the known bird species in the world.
“With the finch irruption this year, we’re hoping for record bird numbers and another record-breaking year for Canadian participation,” says Jon McCracken, Bird Studies Canada’s National Program Director. “In search of a bit of relief from our cold winters, many Canadians become ‘snow birds’ at this time of year, and spend a bit of time birding somewhere warm. While I always strongly encourage counts in our own snowy Canadian backyards, don’t forget that you can participate anywhere in the world. Last year, I did my count in Florida’s Corkscrew Swamp, and had a fantastic day.”To learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.
The Orange County Register (6 March 2010) ran an article Barn Owl webcam a surprise hit about the webcam at Starr Ranch Sanctuary. That got me googling for more barn owl info and I found some very interesting links!
We thought we had a barn owl that loves to perch on our chimney in Reno, almost always at night but sometimes at dusk. There is another one in the neighborhood that answers his/her calls. It’s neat but also seems to follow the old Apache Indian folklore of predicting a death. According to the same owl mythology link in the Sierras (where Reno is), native Indians believed the Great Horned Owl captured the souls of the dead and carried them to the underworld. Thanks to the recordings of the different owl calls on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site, we now realize it is a Great Horned Owl. We reviewed all the recordings on the owl pages and “our owl” call is exactly like the one recorded for the Great Horned Owl – only it can go on and on and on and on….. Ah, according to the Oregon Zoo, mating season can be as early as February – so maybe that was the reason! It was February that loooong night of owl calls. I also learned that the female has the lower voice, but the response was too faint to distinguish which was lower…. 🙂
Here’s a radio show dedicated to birds called Birdnote.
The Hungry Owl Project has a camsite and photos as well.
The Audubon Magazine is one of the most beautiful magazines I get. I just read the Citizen Science article in the May-June 2009 Audubon on Whiz Kids by Susan Cosier and photographed by Chip Simmons. Eastern Pennsylvania kids help collect butterflies, moths, bees and flies for real, hands-on scientific research at the >Lehigh Gap Nature Center. Nature is so important for our well-being. Birding is a great way to get kids interested in science and to learn scientific methodology. It is a great article. Now that I’ve teased you, click on this link to get more….
This all folded into another article in the same Audubon magazine on a Guide to Birding Trails (Part 3 of a series). This link sends you to a list of birding guides on the Audubon website. You can probably find a birding trail for your area of the country there.
The Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson, AZ, is a majestic place to hike around. The tall – and very old – Sagauro cacti reach for the sky and you feel so very small – and young – in comparison! So many outdoor activities are available to do: hiking, biking, camping, birding, horseback riding, and wild flower seeking ( in the spring ). Grandpa Ron and I really enjoyed the park.