Check out these “early birds”! The ruby-thoated hummingbirds are letting us know that spring really is here. It was March 25th last year that I reported that the hummingbirds were spotted in Ohio for the first time. Take a look at the difference on the Hummingbird Map. This year the first ruby-throated hummingbirds were picked up in Ohio on March 19, 2012. That is almost a full week before they arrived in 2011. The ruby-thoated hummingbirds as of March 20th and 21st are as far north as the Great Lakes, northern Illinois into Wisconsin and into the central part of New York. It really is going to be an early spring and what a nice gift to have your hummers returning to your area sooner.
After spending the winter in Central America and Mexico, the migration of the ruby-throated hummingbirds takes about two or three months to complete. The males lead the way with the females following about one and a half weeks behind.
Here are a few interesting and amazing facts about the ruby-throated hummingbirds. These little hovering birds often fly upside down and backwards. They flap their wings around 53 times a second. This hummingbird species is the only one that breeds in the eastern part of North America.
The 2012 ruby-throated hummingbird migration has begun, get your hummingbird feeders out and filled up. The little guys are here early and they are hungry—they had a very long journey. I put my hummingbird feeder out yesterday and am waiting for the first ones to pass through here or, better still, for my hummers to be back for the summer. They remember where the feeders were last year so keep them in the same place.
The annual Great Backyard Bird Count is taking place on Friday, February 17th through Monday, February 20th, 2012. What is the GBBC, how can I participate and why count birds?
What is the GBBC? The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual bird counting event conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. People of all ages take part in this event to count birds in their area. You can count birds in your backyard, at your bird feeder, in the park or any other place in your area. This 4-day event has bird watchers counting birds for as little as 15 minutes a day or as long as you like each day.
How can I participate in the 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count? It’s easy to become part of the 2012 GBBC! Count birds in your area for at least 15 minutes or longer if you want. You can count birds one, two, three or all four of the days. Count the number of each species that you see together at one time. There is a regional checklist that you can print out to help you keep track of the birds and numbers. Then enter the highest number of the individual species that you have counted at one time for that day. Find the information at: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/whycount.html. That is how simple it is to be part of the 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count. It is so much fun to count birds and is so helpful to the organizations involved.
Why count birds? The Great Backyard Bird Count gives scientists and bird enthusiasts a real-time picture of the birds across the continent. The count allows the researchers to have this important information in a short period of time. It would take scientists and research teams months and years to collect this much valuable information that will be presented in these 4 days. The data gathered will show scientists things like: how winter influences the population of birds, different migration patterns compared to previous years, if different regions are affected by bird diseases, the variety of birds that live in the different areas (rural, suburban and natural habitats) and many other factors.
The Great Backyard Bird Count website will be tallying the birds as they are reported, comparing them with last year’s statistics and have a photo gallery for new pictures that people can send in. The 2012 GBBC will be a fun event, give the scientists the much needed statistics and the great thing is that everyone can be a part of it. Have a Great Backyard Bird Count for 2012!
In the preceding article we featured bird watching binoculars and scopes as great gifts for bird watchers. We are now going to look at what other items would be perfect for a bird watcher. There are many things a bird watcher uses while hiking and watching birds.
Consider giving the bird watcher a waterproof field jacket or pocket vest. Field jackets and vests comes with many pockets that birders need for carrying items on their adventures. They can fill them with bird watching binoculars, large field guides, pen and notebook, phone, snacks, water bottles and who knows what else. The coat and vest features padded shoulders which helps when carrying their scope and tripod. The fabric in the jacket and vest should be of a breathable material.
Or how about giving them a field hat for a gift? This type of hat protects the bird watcher from the sun and glare while in the field and should be lightweight. Look for one that has a mesh crown for ventilation and can easily be folded and packed flat when traveling.
A binocular harness is literally a comforting present. The harness takes the pressure and weight of carrying binoculars from around the neck and distributes it evenly through the shoulders and back. A binocular harness makes hiking and bird watching much more enjoyable.
A backpack is another present that can be considered for your birder. Many bird watchers camp out for days while on bird watching trips. They take food, water and many other valuable items with them when camping out and a backpack or field bag would be a great gift. The bags have specific compartments for binoculars, field guides and other needed items.
Field Guide To The Birds of North America
Finally, bird watching books and journals are super bird watching gifts. Look for books that help with easy identification of birds. Journals are valuable to birders to keep track of the birds they spot. They even have software that can be purchased and installed on a phone instead of carrying books.
These are great gifts that any bird watcher would just love and appreciate. So check out the gifts that can be purchased for bird watching. They are going to be the best looking and best prepared birder out there!