Happy news about animals
Here are 10 reasons your own backyard may be the best place for bird-watching — especially during the summer.
1. You don’t have to endure oppressive heat or pesky mosquitoes. Backyard bird-watching is a pain-free way to enjoy the sight of a bird like a blue jay standing regal on a fence or indecorously dunking its body in the cool water of a birdbath.
2. You don’t have to travel. No hassles of packing suitcases, lugging equipment through airports or loading your car for a day trip. No gasoline expenses, either. Just the cost of a pot of coffee and a window view of a mourning dove feeding quietly on the ground.
3. Your backyard birds are as beautiful in their own right as any birds you’d see anywhere in the world. I know, because I’ve traveled to exotic places to see incredible birds, and I can think of no better sight than the spectacular crimson plumes of a male Northern cardinal in my backyard.
4. All your bird-watching equipment is handy. You don’t have to worry about whether you have your binoculars or your camera. Everything is at your fingertips.
5. Watching backyard birds improves your skill at bird identification. When I was a young whippersnapper, a professional bird tour guide told me that the best way to learn bird identification was to study birds in my backyard. I still practice that rule.
6. You can enjoy the parenting behavior of birds like chickadees as they coax their young to fly to your bird feeders.
7. You can watch the comings and goings of birds in your yard throughout the seasons. During fall and spring, look for migratory songbirds like warblers and tanagers. Note the arrival of winter residents like yellow-rumped warblers, ruby-crowned kinglets and orange-crowned warblers.
8. You can teach your children or grandchildren the fun of observing birds without dragging them kicking and screaming away from their computer games to a wildlife refuge. And when they discover the wonders of wild birds, maybe they’ll drag you to a wildlife refuge.
9. You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn as many bird-watchers do to get to a bird-watching spot. Birds will hang around your yard all day. Enjoy them at your leisure.
10. You can watch birds while carrying out other activities like housecleaning, installing a new kitchen sink or just looking up while reading a book. Of course, if you start watching the antics of birds like Carolina wrens flitting around your flower pots, you may not finish cleaning the house, installing a sink or reading more than 20 pages of a book.