March 21, 2013

All is well at my bird feeder, where we seem to have figured out how to keep the squirrels from lifting the cap and eating the bird seed. 

One morning this week my wife Liz and I were eating our breakfast and watching all the different kinds of birds at our feeder, which is right outside the kitchen window. We started naming and counting all the different types of birds that we were seeing. 

Of course, we don’t automatically know the name of every single bird. There were lots of little brown birds with a very distinctive pattern of brown and white stripes on their heads. I was pretty sure it was a sparrow, but didn’t know what kind. So, I did a Google image search, typing in the words: "small brown bird, striped head." Sure enough, up popped a picture of my bird - a white-throated sparrow. Then, just to be sure the image I found was correctly identified, I searched again, this time for "White-Throated Sparrow." That second search took me to legitimate websites like the Cornell Ornithology Lab and, where I was assured that my bird was indeed a white-throated sparrow.

While I was on I decided to file a report on what I was seeing. Do you know this great website? They track bird populations by collecting data from regular people like you and me. It is a very simple form to fill out. Here is what I wrote about what I saw:

You can do this, too. They are interested in what you see where you live - in your backyard, in your school garden, in a park or vacant lot in the city. Wherever you are, you can be part of a community of people who are collecting this huge body of data on our everyday birds.

If you decide to try it, please write by clicking "comments" at the bottom of this blog post, and tell me what you see! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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