The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54386 Message #843958
Posted By: lamarca
09-Dec-02 - 01:41 PM
Thread Name: BS: Birdwatching
Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching
I'm a lifelong birder - my dad was a Biology professor, and used to take me out on nature walks to find birds and bugs and frogs and such starting when I was 4 or 5 years old! I keep notes in my National Geo bird guide about when and where I've seen certain birds - leafing through the guide brings back memories of the places and good times I've had when I saw that particular bird. I've got the new Sibley, but it's too heavy to carry out in the field - I leave it in the car and check it later.
I've been taking bird ID classes through the Audubon Naturalist Society (a DC area environmental organization that Rachel Carson belonged to), and have lately enjoyed trying to learn how to tell shorebirds apart - all the little brown "peeps" and the big,spectacular avocets, phalaropes and stilts. I've also gotten involved with the local butterfly watcher's club - watching butterflies has the advantage that they don't get active until the sun is well up and it's warm (I'm NOT a morning person - the dawn chorus is a hypothetical event for me...)
I feed our backyard birds from our deck - I have a "caged" hanging feeder for the small birds that keeps off the squirrels, and a platform feeder on the deck specifically for the squirrels - I call them my "four-footed furry birds". I feed mostly black oil, with some peanuts and safflower mixed in, and millet and corn mixed in for the platform. I also have an upside-down suet feeder, and we have two pairs of downy woodpeckers that are regulars. My new cats enjoy watching them from the sun-porch - Raffi stares at the squirrels for hours, quivering (the cats aren't allowed outside to indulge their avian appetites...).
My favorite birds are wrens and the downies - tiny packages of chutzpah and noise, that provide entertaining feeder antics and eat nasty insect pests.