Friday, February 17, 2012

The Easy Bird Count

Today is the first day of the four day Great Backyard Bird Count. The GBBC is the easiest count for beginners and fun for all of us. Here are the rules from the GBBC site:

Participation in the GBBC is easy:

1. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. Fifteen minutes is the minimum, but you can count for as long as you like!

2. Tally the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. Optional: Print your to get an idea of the kinds of birds you're likely to see in your area in February.

3. Enter your checklists on the website at . You should submit tallies for each day and for each new location you visit. The deadline to enter your checklists is March 5.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out and count!

All participants are entered into a drawing for prizes. But the biggest prize is being out there, seeing birds, and enjoying the fresh air. (Although you're welcome to look out your window and count birds if you prefer.) I wandered around before the rain started back in today and discovered more than birds... our Fragrant Dawn Viburnum is covered with blooms just opening and scenting the air.

Next to the back door, the Winter Blooming Jasmine (or something... I never remember the correct name) is enveloping the horse hitching post... and everything else in the area.

Along the back walk are faithful primroses that bloom every chance they get all year long but especially in late winter and spring. The yellow ones are open now, soon to be followed by others.

Oh yes, birds. I did take photos of some of the birds feeding on seed I threw out for them in front of the goat barn, although they don't hold as still for the camera as do the flowers. Two Spotted Towhees, a Fox Sparrow, and parts of several not-very-golden Golden-crowned Sparrows march along, slightly out of focus, pecking at seeds.

It's easier to get a photo of the resident peacock, who thinks I throw the seed out just for him. In the background, you may be able to pick out a bevy of small birds feeding in the grass. They are mostly Golden-crowned Sparrows that winter here and will be leaving for their northern breeding grounds before long.

Birdwatching is fun and the GBBC gives me a great excuse to go do it. Sure beats working on income taxes which is what I need to do now that the rain has returned. You can bet that the next break in the weather will find me outdoors again, counting those little chickadees and kinglets moving through the hedgerows... and whatever else crosses my path...

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