Saturday, March 12, 2016

3.12.16 - Bird Nerd Moment - My yard - Yarmouth, MA

If more youngsters cared about the environment, I like to believe that gives us all, wildlife included, some hope for a healthier earth's future.  I had the unexpected pleasure of a visit from two bird lovers, one of whom was introduced to me as "an ornithologist".  Pretty exciting stuff considering they're in first grade and are just as distracted by birds as I am.  When I asked my new pal what his favorite species of bird was, (Lincoln Sparrow!) I was equally impressed!  Not everyone has heard of a Lincoln sparrow, but this guy has his reasons... I know that not everyone is into birds, and that the sounds and sights of springtime may not brighten everyone's day... but when people this age care, and are seriously interested, I basically drop everything and we get outside to see and hear what's going on.

We first checked out the visitors to my bird feeder.  I have one seed feeder and one suet feeder so the birds (and squirrels) know they're welcome.  Then I had to show the boys the nest box in my yard that had fallen off the tree, thanks mostly to squirrels who'd been using it as a perch.  I hadn't inspected it yet, and felt this was the perfect opportunity to do so.  I wanted to see what types of nesting material we might find inside.  We discovered lots of grass, some mud, some yarn & some tiny sticks & naturally, some poop.  It is not the right time of year to be cleaning out bird houses - it's best done in the late fall when no nesting is happening.  I don't know if I can re-hang this nest box without cleaning it out though. I was happy to have some interested helpers though.  We got to see a Mourning Dove overhead, who eventually called out in his/her sweet sad song.  You can see the bird's throat expanding in the photo below when s/he was singing.  The boys also discovered a very large nest in my neighbor's pine tree.  We speculated over whose nest it could be.  I sent these two off with a nest box each and asked them that once they had them painted and hung up outdoors somewhere, that they would send me photos of just that. They agreed it was a pretty good deal.   I look forward to seeing their creations and sharing them on the blog!  (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Black-capped Chickadee
Song Sparrow
Blue Jay
Northern Cardinal
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Tufted Titmouse
Mourning Dove
Listening for Black-capped chickadees

Checking out the busy birds

Song Sparrow, singing

Song Sparrow

This Song Sparrow gave us several songs...

Fallen nest box

Opening it up to inspect inside the box (photo credit: LORI)

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove, notice the expanded throat... this was when s/he was singing
the familiar "whoooo-eee, whooo, whoo whoo"

Nest boxes - before... looking forward to the after photos!

Northern Cardinal

Huge nest in a pine

Blue Jay, House Sparrow - BIG size difference

Northern Cardinal, House Sparrows

House Sparrow - male

Northern Cardinal, House Sparrows

Happy Birding young ornithologists!

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