Friday, December 16, 2011

Three Years Already?

Last week I celebrated my third anniversary of becoming the Guide to Birding / Wild Birds, and I can't believe how the time has passed so swiftly, and how the site has grown and developed. In the past three years, not only have I provided hundreds of articles on bird species, feeding birds, attracting birds, birding travel, conservation and more, but I've also done weekly newsletters, range maps, photo galleries, weekly forum contests and now the latest addition, a monthly bird photo contest.

When I took this job three years ago, my biggest worry was that one day I might grow bored with birds and that I wouldn't be able to come up with enough new information and new ideas to keep writing about with a frantic fascination. I'm astonished, however, that today I have an even longer list of "must-dos" than I had three years ago, and without exaggeration, it seems as if each week I have more ideas I can't wait to put into practice. In the coming year I hope to add even more detailed bird identification diagrams, more comprehensive lists of related content, more highlights of birding hotspots around the world, and in general just more, more, and more about birds.

Even more astonishing, however, is that each day - whether I write an article, help a reader identify a bird, respond to a forum post, or plan out my next piece - I'm always learning more about birds. I'm so glad I started on this crazy flight, and I can't imagine ever wanting to land.

Don't miss your chance to enter the December 2011 Bird Photo Contest!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

No Junk Here

I always know it's getting near to winter when the dark-eyed juncos make an appearance at my feeders. In previous years at the old house, I might only see these sleek little sparrows a few times during the entire season, but this year at the larger, more bird-friendly abode they've made an early appearance and are now regulars. As ground-feeders, they often prefer either foraging around my deck feeders and slightly under the deck, or else they're poking about near my office window, which peeks out at ground level under evergreen shrubs near a sunflower feeder.

Feisty and perky, these are quick, agile birds that don't hesitate to flash their white outer tail feathers just to let everyone know this is their feeding area. I love to see that quick glimpse of white, knowing that they'll be around to brighten up many winter days. I've seen as many as three or four at once, both males and females, and I hope they continue their visits - the feeders will stay full, just in case.

My juncos are the Oregon variety - see the gallery of all junco species!