Somehow or other I heard about Project Feederwatch this fall. It seemed easy enough–sign up, watch my feeders and surrounding area each week, report what I see. Piece of cake. So I signed up. I watched my feeders and reported what I saw. Sunday and Monday were my days to watch (the project requires two consecutive days each week). I looked forward to getting up Sunday morning and seeing what was out there.
It was a great way to take the time to look outside. I would count all the birds I could see of any species that I could see at any one time. It really was not hard to do. I got pretty excited when I got to report something that wasn’t around previously. Each time I would see American Tree Sparrows and Blue Jays and Chickadees. I often would see Juncos (they liked the morning hours) and a pair of Red Tailed Hawks hung around later in the season. I saw a total of 21 different species from November to April. It was another great way to get to know the place I live a little better.
The thing is, I miss it. Now that spring is here I go out birding. I get to see a much bigger swath of my place. And I see a lot more birds. But those Tree Sparrows? They aren’t around any more. They left the same time the Chipping Sparrows arrived. And I mean exactly. One the Tree Sparrows were there, the next day the Chippers were there. Tree Sparrows were a comfort of sorts–seeing them another day was a sign that one more day was real and full of things to wonder at. I sat at the window with a cup of coffee, comfortable as I watched the birds simply do what they needed to do to survive. I wondered what happened when it got below zero and I wondered where they were when some of them simply didn’t show up. Now I just am lucky to see what I see; amazing but not comforting.
I signed up for next year already. I will need to remember my registration number–not sure how I’ll make that happen. In the meantime I am going to try to see as many bird species as I can in my county this year. I’m aiming for 175. Right now, since January first, I am at 103. A good start.