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I have recently been inspired to get to know the birds in my own back yard. I have sometimes thought over the last few years that it would be nice to be able to identify more birds and trees. It’s been fun and inspiring to see how much delight my mom finds in the birds at our bird feeder. Also, on an A Rocha hike two years ago, I was impressed with how many tree and plant species some fellow hikers could identify (A Rocha is an international Christian organization focused on creation care). Then this spring, A Rocha posted an article called "10 Ways to Connect to Creation During Covid-19." This, and my mom’s delight in our birds, inspired me to take the slower pace of life I’m in due to COVID-19 as an opportunity to become a neighbourhood naturalist, to enjoy and become more familiar with the nature right around me.

In less than two weeks, I identified 25 different bird species! I identified beautiful birds in my yard, Elephant Park, Lakeside Park, and around town! My parents and I also went to the trout ponds just outside town for the first time. It’s beautiful there! That trip won’t be my last time there.

The beauty of creation is amazing and wonderful, and taking the time to appreciate and learn about it has been good for my spirit and my connection to God.

Here are some of the birds I’ve spotted in the area, so you don’t have to go far to see them! (Though a lot of them are small, so binoculars do help.) The photos above are ones that I’ve taken. I’m excited about my photos and this fun adventure, so I’m happy to be able to share this with you.

Memorial Park (Elephant Park)

  • Yellow-bellied sapsucker
  • Red-breasted nuthatch
  • Yellow-rumped warbler
  • American robin

Lakeside Park

  • Eastern phoebe
  • Mallard (The standard duck quack is the sound of a female mallard. Male mallards don’t quack; they make a quieter rasping sound.)1

Around Town

  • Baltimore oriole
  • Song sparrow (Female song sparrows are attracted not only to the males' songs themselves, but to how well they reflect the males' ability learn. Females prefer males that use more learned components in their songs and that can match their song tutors.)2
  • House sparrow
  • Tree swallow
  • Barn swallow
  • American crow

Town Dock

  • Ring-billed gull

Home

  • Pine siskin
  • American goldfinch
  • Chipping sparrow
  • Black-capped chickadee (Chickadees add dees to their chickadee-dee-dee call when they are alarmed. The more dee notes, the higher the threat level.)3
  • White-breasted nuthatch
  • Purple finch (My favourite colour is purple and I got to see a purple finch on my birthday!)
  • Ruby-crowned kinglet
  • Common grackle (Although the raggedy figures in cornfields are called scare-crows, grackles are the #1 threat to corn.)4

Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Ponds (Trout Ponds)

  • Great blue heron (Despite their impressive size, great blue herons only weigh 5 to 6 pounds, partly due to their hollow bones—a feature most birds share.)5
  • Red-winged blackbird
  • Common loon
  • Canada goose

I’ve been using TheCornellLab All About Birds and iNaturalist websites to figure out what birds I've seen. (Both of these have apps too.)

1 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/mallard
2 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Song_Sparrow
3 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-capped_Chickadee
4 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Grackle
5 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/great_blue_heron

Kristen

3 Comments


Cindy over 3 years ago

And now I know the species of the birds that delight me in my own backyard! I no longer have to say the pretty yellow bird, or the cute little bird or the bird that is upside down. Even on my walk this morning, I was able to identify the sound of a nearby oriole from what you have been teaching me. I looked around, and sure enough there he was down by Leslie Park and not by the beach where we spotted him last time. I'm enjoying this new adventure too! :)


Melayni over 3 years ago

Oh wow!! Thank you Kristen! I truly enjoyed this article and especially the pictures. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.


Kyle over 3 years ago

Sweet photos and really fun that it's a shared experience with your mom!

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