Count birds instead of staying inside this winter
Monday, December 05, 2011
Media contact: Jessica Basham
One, two, three, four: cardinals, finches and chickadees. How
many birds can you count in your backyard this winter?
While you may not hear their boisterous whistles and tweets like
you do in spring, birds are still in your backyard. Your yard may
look gloomy and dull this time of year, but there are bright spots,
or feathers, to see! In fact, many species of birds are just
arriving from as far away as Canada. It is migration season, when
many of our feathered friends travel to the warm state of Florida
to escape the frozen, snowy north.
What might you see bustling and flitting around your yard? Well,
you might set your sights on a yellow-bellied sapsucker, a
migratory woodpecker that gets its name because of the holes it
bores into trees to "suck" the sap out of the bark.
Or you might see an American goldfinch or chipping sparrow.
Although their colors are duller in the winter, goldfinches are
still easy to spot through bare branches and brown leaves because
of their yellow feathers, black wings with white markings and
cone-shaped bill. The chipping sparrow is a robust little bird with
a rust-colored "cap" on its head. It must love to be heard because
it sings loudly from high, outer limbs of trees. Chipping sparrows
like feeders too, if you have one.
Counting and viewing birds is as easy as walking out your back
door and looking in your trees, bushes or at your feeder. Make it a
family event and take mom or dad outside with you.
Things to have handy: binoculars, bird guides and checklists to
keep track of the kind of birds you see and how many you count. If
you plan to be outside for a long period of time, take a blanket to
sit on and a cup of hot chocolate!
You can also join the FWC's Wings Over Florida program or become a Junior
Birder by visiting FloridaBirdingTrail.com and selecting "Birding
Resources" in the left-hand menu; then click on "Wings Over
Florida." That is where you can learn about the Junior Birder
Program and download a copy of the Bird Detective checklist.
Another opportunity to count birds in your backyard happens Feb.
17-20, 2012. The yearly Great Backyard Bird Count is the largest
bird count in North America. This event helps scientists learn
things, like how winter weather influences bird populations, how
this year's migration compares with last year's, and what kinds of
birds are in cities and rural areas. For information about this
upcoming event, visit http://birdsource.org/gbbc.
So don't become part of the gloomy winter season, Get Outdoors
Florida! and go count birds!