I attribute my love of birds to my Aunt Beulah and Uncle George of Springfield, Missouri. Aunt Beulah was my grandmother's older sister and a sweeter woman I never met. When I was a young teenager, I would go and spend a week with them experiencing absolute bliss. They were a happily married couple of many decades that truly loved one another and everyone around them. Their home had a large backyard that was a haven for birds, it helped that they had numerous feeders to attract them. I remember sitting at Aunt Beulah's kitchen table as she would identify the birds for me.
I forgot how wonderful it was to enjoy the birds until I began homeschooling my boys and looking at the wonderful "science lesson" we had right outside our backdoor.
When I began paying attention again, the only birds I could identify were cardinals, blue jays, robins and everything else was a "sparrow". It has been fun to learn the different birds and their habits. These are the birds I have personally seen and recorded in my nature notebook...
1. Great Blue Heron...saw this at Lake Grapevine one day when the boys and I were doing a nature "drive". I told them what we were looking for and I kept looking up, finally Cowodie said "isn't that it, right outside your window?" Sure enough, it was standing in the middle of the road!
2. Brown bat. There was a mother and 4 of her babies in our front flower bed. At first I thought it was a dead animal, when I went to get a shovel to remove it they began flapping...can I say I jumped! Technically I know the bat is a mammal, but it flies and made it in my journal.
3. Red-winged Blackbird..one time very common in our area, housing developments are pushing them away due to loss of habitat.
4. House Finch. I was so excited when I learned that these were NOT sparrows. The males have lovely red heads and breasts.
5. Carolina Wren. We were fortunate to watch him build a nest in our birdhouse, attract a mate and raise a brood. We even got to see the little ones learn to fly...very cool.
6. Bewick Wren. The next year this one built a nest in the same house. It was pitiful to listen to him day after day try to attract a mate. He never did, so he left.
7. Goldfinch. I was so excited the day I saw one of these for the first time. The coloring is so amazing. We saw it in the backyard at the regular feeder, so of course I went to buy the right feeder and EXPENSIVE feed, he never came back that year! Isn't that the way it is??
8. Juncos. I love to see these each winter. We never see them until it gets really cold then they are around every day. This year they didn't come south until January.
9. Tufted Titmouse. Just the cutest little birds. I love to watch them.
10. Chickadee. They are a cousin to the titmouse, I never see one without the other. It is fun to watch them dive the feeder. They never sit long.
11. Cedar Waxwing. I have only seen one up close. It was sitting in my crepe myrtle and waited for me to identify it. At first I thought it was a titmouse, the more I looked I knew it wasn't. I was afraid it would fly away before I could remember enough about it, but it just sat there so patiently and let me get rather close.
12. Brown creeper. Neat little bird that just climbs up and down a tree trunk.
13. Yellow-rumped Warbler. This was my new find this year. The lady at the bird store told me its common name is a "butter-butt". The boys and I will call it a yellow-rumped warbler, thank you very much...butt is a bad word at our house.
I must stop, but I really don't want to....I have also seen egrets, cattle egrets, woodpeckers, hawks, and killdeer, just to name a few more. I hope that I am instilling a love for birds in the boys like my Aunt Beulah did for me. I think it is getting through, they will call to me from the window..."hey mamsie, did you see....?"
What birds are common in your area?