Friday, April 1, 2011

Backyard Biodiversity Challenge #2

Do you have your trees figured out? Even if you don't have them all named, you can assign Tree1, Tree2, Tree3, etc. to the ones you don't know and keep working on figuring them out.

While you're enjoying the trees, it's time to start Backyard Biodiversity Challenge #2:


We're in migratory bird season, which means that there are a lot of birds making their way from the warmer southern climes to their breeding grounds up north.

In fact, I noticed lots of snow birds on the road this week. Snow birds=RVs that spend the winter in the south and the summer in the north. People have already learned a lot from birds! (Sorry, I couldn't help digressing.)

One thing you might want to do as you write down the birds you see (and yes, I strongly recommend writing them down in a dedicated biodiversity journal) is to note when you first saw them in 2011. Then you can compare that with another year (assuming you'll keep doing this!) and see if the birds are coming earlier or later or not at all. These records can actually prove to be quite important. Ornithology, the study of birds, is heavily reliant upon amateur observations, and many databases are comprised primarily of sightings from citizen scientists.

Another cool thing about getting into the habit of observing the birds in your yard is that you don't have to travel far, but some of the birds have come from or are heading thousands of miles away.

So leave a note--what birds are you seeing? And what birds have traveled/will travel the farthest?


The Incredible Woody said...

Tried to make myself keep up with the birds I saw from my office window yesterday. A couple of crows, maybe 2 dozen seagulls, 2 fighting hummingbirds, and about 6-7 little brownish/yellowish birds that I didn't know what they were. :)

jendoop said...

Our area is a good one for bird watching. We have a pair of doves that are around, they like to perch on the swingset. There is also a cardinal pair that like our yard, they are gorgeous but especially against the snow. We have crows, sparrows, bluebirds, even hawks now and then. Our yard backs up to open space and a greenway with a river, it is really nice. It's fun to live somewhere long enough that you feel like the mated birds are your well-known neighbors.

I tried to bird watch with the kids once, they were too loud and impatient!

Desert Survivor said...

I love cardinals--we don't have those out here, so when I do see them I really appreciate them.

Those little brown birds can be quite a trial to identify. Birders often call them LBJs--little brown jobs. It's a job to figure them out!

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