Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Great Front Yard Bird Count

It's amazing to think that mere weeks ago, the DC-metro area was covered with 3+ feet of snow. This was the view from our front porch:

And here's one of the feeders we have hung from the fruit tree in the front yard. To get an idea of how deep the snow cover was, keep in mind that I whang my head on that feeder on a regular basis. Therefore, it is approximately at least 5 feet off the ground.

Most fortuitously, the Great Backyard Bird Count overlapped part of that snowbound week, and was a great excuse to gaze out the window all day long.

A mourning dove peers at me from his perch in the feeder tree. I love the look of soft little bird-bellies!

As you can see, the blizzards afforded us with plenty of birdwatching opportunities. Not only were we stuck in the house for a week (three days of which we didn't have power, and only survived thanks to the newly-installed woodstove), but the birdies needed plenty of extra sustenance, which I was happy to provide.

Fortunately, CatTV does not require electricity:

(Here Yoda studies the delicious sparrows, as if choosing prime cuts at the deli counter. I always point out that House Sparrows are the most delectable--imported from Europe!)

The only time Yoda and Audrey will tolerate each other's close company is while they're watching Primetime in the front yard. At these moments a sort of peace settles over the household and we all enjoy the sport of birding together, as a family.

By far the coolest bird to grace our front yard with its presence was this hawk, which landed in the red maple in the yard just steps from the front door. (You can bet the cats stopped salivating when they saw it....a raptor makes for no easy snack.)

Excuse the blurry pictures! Understandably, it remains unidentified. (I've asked all the naturalists at Brookside to weigh in, and everyone's still undecided as to whether it's a red-tailed or a red-shouldered hawk.) ID or no, it was still a breathtaking event, and not a bad way to commemorate my first Backyard Bird Count.

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