Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spring is in the Air

Some of us forecast spring by checking whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow, others look for activity of Robins. For me, I know Spring is near when Cornell Lab of Ornithology kicks off the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), an event that I have participated in for as long as I can remember. After semi-hibernating during the cold season, for me it is what I need to kickstart me to clean my feeders, tidy up a bit in the yard and around my feeders and then sit and enjoy the sights. It is also a time to quantify what you know already, the many birds that frequent my yard and the area. During one 15 minute period today, I counted 11 species and 37 birds no farther away than the end of my patio. I am always amazed at the characters displayed by the different birds. They are curious, sad, angry, happy and flit about showing it all. I see Downys every day but this one, for instance, shows great expression. What is he thinking?

And, then, 2 blocks from my house in urban, populated charlotte, every year about 18 nesting pairs of Great Blue Herons, come back every year to a site just off of the 4-Mile Creek Greenway and establish relationships, builds and rebuilds their home(nest) and raises a family once more. The male shows up first and lays claim to a nest or nesting place, then the female shows and the courtship begins. It is a joy to watch the teamwork that takes place throughout these 2 or 3 months before the chicks fledge and fly off to start a life of their own.