Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dual List Update

Lately there have been wonderful changes to both my life list and my backyard bird list. Not only was I able to add six new species to my life list during last weekend's amazing birdwalk in Layton, but the following day I visited several marshy areas and ponds closer to home and spotted several new-to-me birds. In one small, marshy wetland area, a northern harrier was casually hunting low over the scrub, and the wing and rump markings couldn't have been more clear. The next stop was a lengthy pond alongside a golf course, and it turned into a rich birding area as I was awed by the large flock of American white pelicans. Also in the pond were American avocets, American coots, mallards, Canada geese, and another newcomer to my life list, the northern shoveler. I can hardly wait to return to that pond this weekend for more observation.

The backyard has had new bird excitement as well. Every backyard birder dreads the resonant "bong" of a bird impacting on a window, but I don't hesitate to check the window areas so I may have the chance to help the injured bird recover. When I saw a bird with dark wings and a bold yellow rump precariously tipped in the flower bed, I didn't hesitate to grab my bird rescue box to give it someplace quiet and safe to recover, but it wasn't until I had the bird in my gloved hands that I realized it wasn't an American goldfinch or a pine siskin - it was a female red crossbill. She recovered quickly and well, and later that day I saw both males and females visiting the feeders to snack on the black oil sunflower seeds. They've returned for a few days now, and I hope they do stay; even though they're not new on my life list, it's always a treat to have more birds in the backyard.

Spring is definitely in the air - as evidenced by the fact that it is raining rather than snowing today - and with the warm breezes and blooming flowers come more visitors to the backyard. Be sure your feeders are clean and full, plant flowers to attract hummingbirds, and refill the birdbath to offer a cool drink on these warming days, and you too will be rewarded with ever more backyard guests.


Larry said...

Excellent post Melissa, with great advise on keeping your bird feeders clean, birdbaths clean and full and planting bird friendly plants to attract more birds to your yard! Isn't it fun to add more birds to your list and enjoy not only their beauty but their behavior as well?

Congrats on your new lifers and the new visitors to your yard too!

Frank Baron said...

Congrats on the additions to your list and good for you for helping the bird recover.

I've never heard of a recovery box. I'll have to check into it further. Thanks for the tip.

mckay olson said...

I also use acorns at my feeder.

Amy H. (bird geek) said...

Hey! Just wanted to let you know that my father-in-law hung up his nyjer seed sock yesterday and has already had three birds eating from it. I wasn't there, so I'm not positive of the ID, but he was pretty happy. Thanks for the recommendation!

Melissa said...

Amy - I'm glad he liked it! The pine siskins, American goldfinches, and lesser goldfinches can't leave my nyger sock alone, and I've even got a couple of house finches that have figured it out. Cheers!