Monday, May 14, 2012

A Birding Update

Saturday, May 12, was International Migratory Bird Day. The Memphis chapter of the TN Ornithological Society (of which I am a member) hosted a Shelby county Migratory Bird Count, but I was unable to participate because my brother had a baseball tournament and I live in DeSoto county, not Shelby. I'm sure there were other counts in other places, and if you participated in one I'd love to know how it went! Just leave me a comment down below.

Friday was the first game of my brother's baseball tournament. He's on the Blue Jays, but their uniforms look more like the White Sox and the players sound more like the Braves (southern accents :D) . They're a rec team, but they were playing competitive teams from other towns. They lost every game, but they did well considering who they were up against. My 3 littlest brothers made an interesting discovery that day. They, while running around with their friends, stumbled (thankfully not literally) upon a Killdeer nest.

It was just outside the fence around one of the ball fields; one of the worst places it could have been. There were little kids and baseball players everywhere! I tried to get my brothers and their friends away from the nest, but they seemed not to hear my saying "If you stay here the mother bird won't come back". So I switched to "If you stay here you'll get hit by a ball", as there was a team warming up very close to us, and promptly got hit in the foot myself. "Sorry," said the player. "No problem," I replied. "Thanks for illustrating my point!"

I finally did get the kids away from the egg, but the adult Killdeer was still going berserk. There were at least 20 people way to close to her egg for her liking. Unfortunately, there wasn't much anyone could do about it. She had picked the second worst place to nest in the whole ballpark. The worst would be the parking lot. Or the sidewalk. Or home plate.

When I came back on Saturday I didn't get a chance to check on the egg, but the adult Killdeer was still hanging around there. I hope she successfully raises a chick!

I also recently discovered a Cardinal nest in one of our bushes. The day I found it there were three eggs, and the next day, May 10, the first chick had hatched. The day after that, all three chicks were out of their eggs.

The first chick

I also have been having a whole lot of dreams about birding this week. Is that a sign? I've had one about an Ivory-billed Woodpecker showing up in our yard (I've had a bunch of those), a dream about finding a flock of Northern Gannets while birding the Tennessee River (is that even possible? Probably not), and a dream about finding a Lesser Yellowlegs that turned into a Prothonotary Warbler. Now that one was weird.

And that's pretty much all the significant birding I've done in the past few weeks. I've never been able to get out much; I'm lucky if I get to go birding once a month. I try not to complain, but I'm becoming very twitchy. One of my major goals is to learn how to drive so I can chase after every rarity I can get to. That should give my life list a boost.

I have gotten a few year birds, though. I saw Common Nighthawk at the ballpark about 2 weeks ago. Also when the whole family went fossil hunting at Coon Creek Science Center in McNairy County, TN a few weeks ago, I did a lot of birding by ear, adding much needed species such Black-thraoted Green Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Field Sparrow, Ovenbird, and Indigo Bunting.

But I just finished reading Kingbird Highway by Kenn Kaufman, and as anyone who has read the book can recall, near the end he starts to lose his interest in listing as he realizes it's not the important part of birding. He comes to know that the most important part of birding is the birds; finding them, studying them, knowing them. After reading that, my life list of 163 and year list of 77 doesn't seem so pitiful after all. But it's still fun to look for the birds and try to get as many as you can on one list. And you know you're not getting enough when your wish list is longer than your life list. :)

Happy Birding!

P.S: Does anyone have any tips on identifying shorebirds? I'm trying to work on that, but I haven't had very many opportunities to practice. Any help is appreciated!

1 comment:

  1. Neat post Katie! i'm glad you "sorta" saved the killdeer nest(for the day at least). :)


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