Backyard Birding- Better than TV
This attitude is slowly changing. Two summers ago we built a deck at our lake cabin. This deck obviously prompted us to sit outside more. While sitting drinking coffee one morning I couldn’t help but take note to a woodpecker pounding away on a nearby tree. This just seemed so cool at the time. As most of you know I grew up in a farm near Bowbells and it was very common to have many birds around but I can’t say I ever really took the time to stop and enjoy them simply doing what it is that birds do.
Back to my woodpecker story. I was so dumbfounded that morning watching that little bird beat the tar out of an old tree just for some bugs and worms that were inside. Over the entire summer I found myself waking up early to get a cup of coffee and slip out the patio door to sit a the table and take it all in. Sometimes as a treat we even had a family of deer that would walk up to the yard from the woods to enjoy some spilled seed from the bird feeders.
Until the past month I thought the visits from the deer were as good as it gets. Late last fall my wife and I bought a different house in Grand Forks. The reason this is even mentioned is because the English Coulee (an small channel to the Red River) runs through our new back yard. As the ice went out and winter became spring the coulee all of a sudden became a lively bird and critter-infested city.
The first of the animals to move in was a pair of mallard ducks. They swam around for a couple days before a cold snap refroze the coulee and forced them to leave again. A couple weeks later when the ice came off yet again they were right back. Now we have had three weeks of pleasant warm spring. We have been watching two pairs of mallards, two pairs of wood ducks, a pair of blue wing teal, numerous varieties of sparrows, blackbirds, coopers hawks, robins and other birds I can’t identify getting nests ready for the spring season.
The past week in particular going home from work has been so exciting because we want to know what the ducks will do today. It is like when we were kids and couldn’t wait to get home from school to see what Scooby Doo was going to do next. Over the past days we have watched one set of mallards start setting up shop in a clump of cattails on the other side from our yard. The hen crawls in to work on the nest while the drake sits outside and guards from any other greenheads that may want to intrude.
With all this excitement going on right in the back yard two popular items that make a home on the kitchen counter have been my binoculars and our digital camera with a zoom lens. The chairs on the deck are strategically placed for better viewing to the coulee, and the screen has been removed from the bathroom window to allow for better viewing to the neighbors bird feeders.
I am pretty sure I’m not going to be traveling to state parks for the birding any time soon but this spring the birds (ducks in particular) have been more entertaining than any show on TV. (This coming from a TV salesman) I do have a greater appreciation for the nature that is going on around me and look forward to what the rest of my bird watching summer with offer.
Until next time get outside and make some memories