I used to think that bird watchers were really strange people. The ones I had run across at wildlife management areas and refuges ran around in weird clothes with optics and cameras that had names I had never even heard of much less could afford. Many wore goofy hats and fancy outdoor clothes. I have even seen these strange people back in the shallow marshes and flats looking for water birds. They were often seen with their nose stuck in a book or playing tapes of haunting bird calls while peering through large spotting scopes on expensive tripods. I guess there are strange people in every sport and who knows I could even be one of the strangest and just not know it. As I get older I spend more of my time in the field watching wildlife than I do shooting wildlife. I no longer have the desire to just fill my tags and unless I need an animal for the freezer or it is a truly mature specimen or something unique I tend to pass the shot. Some of my clothes are different and I even have a couple of goofy hats, I guess it comes with the territory or maybe just the getting older. I just found a deal on two tripods on Craigslist the other day. Now I can put my spotting scope on one and my camera on the other.
My brother has become an accomplished bird watcher and can identify most of what I can not or can’t find in my bird books. Since I am a falconer I can identify most of the raptors he has problems with so we have kind of crossed lines and talk bird watching quite a bit these days. I often find myself sitting in a deer blind and using my binoculars to watch birds. Yesterday my wife and I sat at the tank to let her shoot a few dove and we spent much of the time watching for different species of birds. We saw Red-tailed hawks, a Merlin, Vultures, a Rain Crow, Mocking birds, a kettle of Broad-winged hawks, a Black Headed Grosbeak, a Great Horned Owl along with the five dove my wife downed that flew over the tank. There was some kind of tiny wren that came to drink at the edge of the stock pond right in front of us but I have not been able to find it in my book to identify it. We saw a whole bunch of different kinds of little sparrows that I call Chi Chi birds so people don't know I that I really don't have a clue what they are.
We have started putting up nest boxes at our small family place so that we will have some species raising young right there for us to observe. Kestrels, Screech owls and bluebirds have new homes waiting for them to occupy this next year courtesy of the Thomas family. It seems that many times other birds and animals don’t realize that the nest boxes were not built for them. A squirrel has taken over one of the Screech Owl houses and a Flycatcher nested in one of the Blue Bird boxes. Anyway we feel that putting up the man-made nest boxes will provide homes for multiple species and increase the wildlife we are able to watch at the place. I am even hoping to build some nest platforms for Red-tailed hawks and Great Horned Owls this next year. Get out and enjoy the wildlife around your area.
We sure have, Wild Ed
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Here is my favorite Guide to Birds.
I have a blog buddy that sometimes imbeds songs on his blog and the last one really has a message. Go on over and read a little but be sure and play the video