Saturday, February 19, 2011
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.