Like most things bloggish, I haven’t written a things thankful in over a month. Must admit with the ramping up of pain, the freezing temperatures keeping me cold-stayed, and various other life happens moments, perhaps I haven’t been as thoughtful and thankful as I could. (I use the word could, on the advice of a therapist, rather than should which is judgmental in my lexicon)
One thing I am daily thankful for and enjoy are the birds who visit our yard.
I’ve mentioned this before.
But I want to highlight birds again because the 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count happens in two weeks. The GBBC organization invites:
“. . . you to participate! For at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 15-18, 2019, simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world, for as long as you wish!”
Once you’ve done your observations:
“enter [your] checklists at birdcount.org. Anyone with internet access can participate, no matter what their skill level—it’s a great family activity, too.”
You don’t need to leave your home. Watch out a window, sitting in a comfy chair, sipping hot cocoa.
If you need a primer on the who’s who of birds, there are lots of sources on the web. For example, e-birds provides a free course on bird identification. Or, Project Feederwatch (of which I am a participant) discusses ways of identifying what you see.
Even if you live in a very urban environment, birds are still a part of the cityscape. I see my physical therapist (specially trained in the kind of therapy I need for my orofacial pain) at the orofacial pain centre which is in a very inner city location. (Though the environs have been somewhat gentrified since I first visited the area to see a pain management specialist over 10 years ago). While I was walking to the bus stop, beginning my long trek home, something caught my eye. “That looks like a hawk coming in for a landing” on the tree planted next to a parking garage. Sure enough, it was! The same species of hawk that regularly uses our backyard as a hunting ground!
I spent a few minutes observing, but not wanting to attract attention I moved on.
This is my year of the hawk. On January 1, a juvenile hawk found a meal in our yard. For a very special 40 minutes, the hawk perched on a branch very close to my kitchen window eating and digesting his/her lunch. I felt very privileged for this close observation, and discovered new things about this hawk’s behaviour. A PBS Nature or NatGeo channel moment.
Now I’m asking for a favour.
I am so moved by the stories of food insecurity here in North America, and around the world. The UNICEF Report on Humanitarian Aid For Children highlights the need for action.
But there are so many who are in trouble around the world and around the corner. I would love suggestions as to how I can take action, and feel I am making a difference. My heart has many holes, and the horrid conditions folks deal with pierces it so deeply.
And thanks to the 10 Things of Thankful project (and Wendy at picnicwithants.com for reminding me of being thankful/mindful) for pulling me out of the self-destroying, self-sabotaging vortex of focusing on my own woes.
February 4, 2019 at 3:10 pm
We try to help the birds in our backyard by feeding them, because there is still snow covering the ground.
February 15, 2019 at 7:16 am
Oops, I wasn’t getting notice of comments.
Glad to read you are helping out the birds.
Will you be counting this weekend?
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February 15, 2019 at 5:45 pm
Will try, but I am not that good in recognizing birds. In fact, there my be only three or four kinds of them usually in our backyard.
February 16, 2019 at 3:31 pm
You don’t have to have a multitude of birds to count. If you use the suggestions for information, you will find out about how to tell which bird is which.
Not trying to be pushy; but citizen scientists are the way that mass amounts of data can be accumulated and thus analyzed.
Governmental folks just don’t have the resources to carry out such huge projects.
Climate change is impacting the birds already; migration and overwintering patterns are in flux.
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February 18, 2019 at 4:21 pm
You are so right about climate change affecting birds; we already saw the first migrating birds coming back this weekend. My brother-in-law is a hobby ornithologist, he confirmed this as well.
February 3, 2019 at 10:36 am
Oh! I may participate in the bird count! Sounds highly tweetworthy!! Chirp! There are mostly blue jays in the backyard.
February 15, 2019 at 7:17 am
I haven’t been getting notices, so I apologize for the delay in responding.
The count starts this weekend.
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February 3, 2019 at 1:10 am
Both my husband and I have participated in the bird counts, although I haven’t done this in recent years. We used to have a lot a feeders on our property and I could count the birds from inside where it was warm. When our feeders began attracting critters, we decided that having them so near our vehicles was costing us too much money. (Those critters got inside our vehicles!) Often I count the number of hawks, egrets, blue herons, etc. I see on my frequent drives to a small town nearby.
The sounds of chirping birds abound in our area. Even in the winter, it often sounds like Spring.
There are so many who need help, it is hard not to feel like one’s small offers really make a difference, but I think that the widow’s mite or the fortunes given by those who have, all help.
February 15, 2019 at 7:21 am
My apologies. I can’t use the computer much and I haven’t been getting notices of comments.
I hope you will participate this weekend. I’m looking forward to the GBBC.
We have been recording, in various notebooks, the birds that visit our yard, and we see on walks.
I understand the “critter” issue. We’ve had squirrel infestations, and one place we lived, the squirrels “hid” food in our car (such as the wheel wells) and dug up and ate our spring bulbs!
Yes, the widow’s mite and those who can afford to give larger amounts do make a difference.
February 2, 2019 at 9:03 pm
(Did I get it right?…. (lol) no, no! the round white bird things….*)
Good to see you back at the ‘oT
I fear I’m not quick enough (nor is my eyesight up to the task) to be able to spot different species.
That said, we do have red-tailed hawks in the woods, they’re pretty distinctive.
* oh, damn… this is about out there in the real world
February 15, 2019 at 7:31 am
Yes, out and about (aboot as people point out “about” my lingering Canadian accent.
Limiting computer time means that when the notice function isn’t working, I’m late to answer comments.
You could count outside your window if you look up from your computer, lol.