Saturday, March 1, 2014

How to Make Birding Fun When There Just Aren't a Lot of Birds Around

It's time for a check-in on Desert Survivor's Backyard Bird Challenge. How are you doing? We've had a very slow couple of weeks, with only a rough-legged hawk added to our species list. But we've seen some birds outside our yard lately, like Canada geese, mallards, mountain bluebirds, western meadowlarks, and sandhill cranes, that we are hoping we can add soon.

Even though we are in a bit of a slump, we still hit 15 birds for the month of February, which is pretty awesome. Even better is when I checked our list, hanging on the refrigerator, and noticed a new entry (this was before the rough-legged hawk):
 Sure, red-tailed hawks are our most common hawks, so a sighting of one didn't have me jumping up and down. What did is that Desert Boy had taken the initiative to write it down. He spotted it with his dad, and was so excited about finding his very own bird.

That made me think he might be ready for another little tool to make birding a little more interesting for him:
So we bought Bird Log Kids: A Kid's Journal to Record Their Birding Experiences. Desert Boy was excited to have his very own specialized journal. Here's his first entry:

The journal is great because he includes birds anywhere we go, not just in the backyard. We saw about 5,000 snow geese near Delta, Utah, when we went to the annual Snow Goose Festival (to be reported soon on this blog!). That made an impression. When I pointed out to Desert Boy that we had 15 backyard bird sightings, and that would fill up half his journal, he got pretty excited. We are taking it slow, though, with only a couple entries a week so he doesn't burn out.

I have to say that participating in the backyard bird challenge has made me a lot more aware of the birds that live in the yard. We see about 15 European starlings, a couple Eurasian collared doves, a handful of dark-eyed juncos, a northern flicker, a magpie, and some pinyon jays almost every day. I scan the yard every time I go outside, looking for something out of the ordinary. A great horned owl hoots me to sleep a few evenings a week.

If you haven't started the Backyard Bird Challenge, it's not too late! The rules are easy: keep track of what bird species you see in your backyard! Now that we're starting March, it will be interesting to see what different birds appear from those we saw in February.

In the meantime, if you see an interesting bird, don't be afraid to "whoa" and enjoy the moment!

Note: this post contains an affiliate link, wherein you will be able to purchase an item (or anything else you put in your cart for 24 hours) for the same regular price but I will receive a very small commission, which helps keep these posts coming. 

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