Great Backyard Bird Count

This blog is about food.  But it's also about living in harmony with the rhythms of nature.  About eating seasonally.  About walking with your feet on the earth and knowing that you are leaving footprints.  For me, that is a spiritual experience and the way I eat has very much to do with the central philosophy of who I am in this world.

Too existential for you?  Sorry.  But I'm going to guess that you're here reading for a lot of reasons, and that you probably care at least a little bit about the environment and the creatures and plant life that share our world.

To that end I want to talk a little about the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Click to go to site
This makes a great project for homeschoolers or parents of kids, and big kids who get a kick out of watching birds.  It happens every year in mid-February, and this year is this Friday-Sunday (14-16).  It's pretty easy.  You register to participate, tell them where you'll be observing, and then you spend some time (in your yard, or elsewhere, up to you) observing, and log how many birds of which species you see.  You log those findings on the website.  You probably learn a thing or two along the way (last year I discovered that the chickadees where I live in Tennessee are Carolina chickadees, not the black-capped chickadees I was used to seeing in Ohio where I grew up... no wonder they sound a little different!) about the animals that inhabit your corner of the universe.

It's crowd source science, and it's awesome!  Then you can explore the data and see what kinds of birds are being seen where. 

Between this project and my garden, I started noticing things.  I noticed plants blooming that I hadn't noticed before, and I educated myself about what they were.  I started keeping a nature log - the daffodils bloom now, the forsythia blooms then, I discovered that my horses are eating an interesting weed and this is what it is.  And, the robins and bluebirds are back earlier this year than usual.  That sort of thing.  Since I'm a hard core journaler, I love this kind of stuff.  It tunes you in, in a way that just going about your information-saturated, dissociative business and shoving factory food in your face every day can't.

So join me!  Maybe keep a little nature journal of your own.   I have a sketchbook, but I also have a little page on my Notes app on my phone so I can type in what I see when I see it (is there an app for this kind of thing? If there isn't there should be).  Happy birding.  :)