Tuesday, November 20, 2007

For the Birds

I love Fellow Traveler's 80-something aunt and uncle, who live in a community not too far from us. They seem to return the favor, too. Since my own biological family is dwindling precariously, it's kind of fun to have a new, adoptive family.

Anyway, my uncle-in-law, knowing that we like birds, has been busy contructing PVC birdfeeding stations for The Big House and Cold Comfort Cottage; they look like clothespoles, with several hangers for birdfeeders plus a squirrel-proofing contraption made from coffee cans and wires. Since my squirrels have actually managed to disable my heretofore reliably squirrel-proof tube sunflower feeder, I am willing to try anything this year to thwart them.

Meanwhile...I just got my Winter Bird Feeder Survey in the mail. This is a great program, jointly run by the Kalamazoo Nature Center and the Michigan Audubon Society, that enlists "just folks" as naturalists in keeping regular track of the species and numbers of birds at their bird feeders through the winter months. Each month you note the number of bird species that visit your feeders; one day per month you do a more detailed count of individual birds as well as species.

If you're a Michiganian reading this, you can get hooked up with the program by visiting www.naturecenter.org. If you live in another state -- contact your state's Audubon Society and see what similar bird-count programs are going on where you live. It's fun, and your data provides important information about the birds in your area.

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