Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Birdwatching at Ganondagan

My eyes are usually down while trail walking. I'm a self-proclaimed "plant nerd" and looking down is the way to spot all the interesting plants along the way. But I must admit that last week while trail walking at Ganondagan that my eyes were often brought up. Spring is a wonderful time not only to see and enjoy wildflowers, it is also a great time to do some birdwatching.

While I can identify hundreds of plants and trees, I am no birder. The birds I can identify by sight and song are rather limited but even I could recognize the wonderful collection of birds that I could see or hear along my hike. I knew it would be a good day for seeing our feathered friends when a male bluebird warbled at me from his perch atop the bark longhouse.

In my travels I saw or heard many birds but I can only identify a few. Those few included: bluebirds, ring-necked pheasant (I was close enough to hear him drum his wings after his call), chickadees, crows, blue-jays, flickers, woodpeckers (heard, not seen!), canada goose, tree swallows, and robins. There were others, but not ones I knew.

I included a link to my favorite bird field guide, Peterson Field Guides Eastern Birds. It's a great guide to take on trail walks that covers all the birds you would most likely see at Ganondagan. It has color pictures and brief descriptions for each bird with a format that is friendly to the beginner as well as more experienced bird watchers.

I've also included a link to an audio CD, Birding by Ear: Eastern and Central North America. Sometimes you never see the bird, but you certainly can hear them. And unless it is a mockingbird (who I can hear right now singing outside my window), the bird songs are pretty distinctive for each species. My mockingbird friend does the bird world's "Greatest Hits" for me - he serenades me with bluebird and other distinctive bird calls that are not his own!

Whether it is Ganondagan's trails or your own backyard, I hope you can get out and enjoy the beauty and song of our avian friends!


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