Birding 101 at the Nature Preserve

Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve and the Louisville Audubon Society joined birders everywhere in the Great Backyard Bird Count today. The GBBC is citizen science in action, and there is still time for anyone to help – February 17 through February 20.

1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day. You can also submit more than one checklist per day if you count in other locations on that day.

2. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. You may find it helpful to print out your regional bird checklist to get an idea of the kinds of birds you’re likely to see in your area in February. You could take note of the highest number of each species you see on this checklist.

3. When you’re finished, enter your results through our web page. You’ll see a button marked “Enter Your Checklists!” on the website home page beginning on the first day of the count. It will remain active until the deadline for data submission: March 5, 2012.

I was pleased with the number of enthusiastic, knowledgable young birders attending our program today. Some liked the birdy craft projects, while others took right to the binoculars! A little girl won a bag of bird seed as a door prize, and was more excited than she was at Santa’s arrival! Ryan Ankeny from the LAS gave a short program with pointers on identifying birds, and we headed out into the Nature Preserve

We saw and heard many of the regular backyard birds in the bird observation room, along with the little chipmonk who lives there. He was delighted by all the new seeds on the ground!

A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers visited the feeders early in the morning. Out in the woods we found a Downy Woodpecker and a two large Piliated Woodpeckers – our outstanding bird for the day.

Although I see and hear Bluebirds every day I come to the Nature Preserve, for some reason they all went someplace else today. So here is what we missed in case you want to look for them later.

Buddy Freckles is our mole manager, but he said he’d be glad to change jobs today and become a bird dog instead!

Song Sparrows like to feed in the brush and on the ground, but like most small birds, they can move away before you get a photo of them.  This little guy kept moving his head so fast it’s simply a blur here!

Of course, the birds are ready for someone to appreciate them every day, and you don’t have to wait for an invitation or special event to enjoy their beautiful colors and songs. Spring will be here before long with birds migrating home, and our own birds moving into the nesting boxes at the Preserve. If you are lucky, you may even get to see our Red Tailed Hawk, Adell!