Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Because "flicker" isn't just a web site...

It's spring! I saw a cherry tree juuuust starting to bloom today (a little early maybe?), just a few blossoms opening, but more importantly -- BIRDS! Today walking in the park, I saw two brown-headed cowbirds, a white-breasted nuthatch, a flicker, a large number of juncos, and some sort of little warbler thing with a song that sounded like it was mumbling to itself. (Didn't have binoculars, so no ID on that one.) Plus the usual assortment of cardinals, blue jays, and a mockingbird singing high in a tree. This is one of the best times of year for birding, since there are loads of birds around (migrants passing through, summer residents just coming up from South America, plus our year-rounders), they're all full of hormones and singing like crazy, and there aren't any leaves yet to get in the way! It's like they want us to go birding.

Anyway, you'll have noticed if you clicked any of the bird names above that they all lead to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Cornell has one of the finest websites I've seen for IDing birds, but they also have a citizen science program called eBird that allows you to register any bird that you see. It's a great way to get involved in birding and science research, even if neither is particularly your thing. Every data point they gather is valuable -- no sighting is insignificant! So if you see something neat and manage to identify it, send it in!

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