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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Backyard Bird Counting

GBBC Great Backyard Bird Counting

This Valentine's Day weekend was the time to participate in GBBC 2010: Great Backyard Bird Counting.

I was excited, naturally, and I managed to get Ana interested by pointing to the birds in our backyard, as well as along the SpringWater Corridor Trail we frequent, capturing the beauties in my camera so we can look up their names, learn more about them.

We were rather laid back and casual about it this year - in terms of counting; we just wanted to get into the spirit of things... and, to learn about at least the ones we were privileged to meet.

Couple of years ago, I did this alone, sitting out on the deck thanks to strict bed-rest orders from the doctor while anxiously awaiting Oggie's arrival...

Along with the mating mallards and the Canada geese in the marshy ponds, we could identify the tiny black-headed juncos, scrub jays, house sparrows, common ravens in our backyard, even common Western gulls (surprisingly a bunch of them have taken up residence in our neighborhood, scrounging off garbage)...

It was nice to go through the regional birds checklist to identify rust-bellied Robins (as we read in I Took The Moon For A Walk"), Towhees, Steller's jays (their harsh squawks are a giveaway as we found out), Red-winged Blackbird we see along the Trail... with many more yet to be identified by us. [Thanks, Mom, for helping with the bird IDs]

Some wrens, warblers, finches, nuthatches, and swallows we could spot, but, not quite identify - thanks to their jittery and shy nature, jumping and hopping and easily startled.

Soon our favorite humming birds will be visiting, as will the Woodpeckers that like to take up residence in the knot-hole in our tree to raise its family, I hope.

It is almost planting season... Was looking back fondly at the 2006 garden and 2007 one where we put in quite a bit of thought and effort... The 2008 garden saw very little effort from me thanks to Oggie's arrival...and the 2009 garden started out happy and thrived alright despite our absence, thanks to the India trip...

Not sure what 2010 garden holds for us... I don't feel ready for the strenuous work it involves, but, thankfully, D likes to take charge. He is a farmer at heart.

The Daffodils are not here yet... they sure have a way of uplifting my spirits. The perennials should all be poking through right on cue - gladioli, star gazer lilies, rain lilies, ranunculus and tulips...

Meanwhile, the rosemary and lavender tantalize our senses when we tour the backyard, while the birds cheer us with their company.

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At 11:43 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

It's been interesting how the bird population has changed in the 9 years we've lived here. One species will move in often causing another to move out. I haven't really thought about it much lately but at one point we had 17 species that would frequent our 550 sq metre surburban block.
I have a surprise for you if you're interested

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Kristine:: Thanks for the surprise :) it made my day! Isn't it interesting... until well into adulthood I didn't realize the threat of invasive plants and animals to a habitat and now, it is hard to imagine life without learning more about our surroundings... hopefully this is a good example for the kids :)


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