Monday, May 9, 2011

Birds I've (almost) Always Known

My first recollection of finding enjoyment in birdwatching dates back to my childhood.  My grandfather was an avid backyard birdwatcher.  He had a bird feeder that always bustled with birds!  I remember pouring over the pictures of birds in his 1976 copy of "The Birds of Canada" by W. Earl Godfrey (which I now have in my possession).  I was happy to find that he had tucked into this book an article he clipped out of the Windsor Star on November 25, 1980 that pictured the bird feeder he built and used in his backyard.  One day, I will have someone build me one just like it.  It was thanks to my grandfather that I was able to identify several common bird species very early on in life.

In the last couple of years, I have taken to feeding birds in my backyard.  I now have three feeders (blackoil, nyger seed and hummingbird) that attract several species of birds:

 1) Northern Cardinal
 2) American Goldfinch
 3) Ruby-throated Hummingbird
 4) House Sparrows (what backyard feeder doesn't have lots of these?)
 5) House Finches (saw for the first time in 2010)
 6) Mourning Doves
 7) Red-winged Blackbirds (one of my grandfather's favourites)
 8) Brown-headed Cowbirds
 9) Common Grackles
 10) Black-capped Chickadee (saw for the first time in summer 2010)
 11) American Robin
 12) European Starling
 13) Dark-eyed Juncos (saw for the first time winter 2010/2011)

Most of these birds, I cannot remember seeing for the "first time"...they've always been around.  We also see the occasional:

 14) Blue Jay
 15) Mallard (who sometimes visits our pool)

If you ask me, that's not too bad for an urban backyard :)  Of course, living in Essex County, I've also seen more than my fair share of:

 16) Canada Goose
 17) Ring-billed Gulls (although I incorrectly lumped all gulls into the "seagull" category)
 18) Barn Swallows
 19) Tree Swallows

I am now on a quest to see and photograph as many birds as I can (at least locally).  I am just starting out, so I expect my list will grow quickly for awhile as I make a conscious effort to spot new birds.  I hope you enjoy my sightings :)

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