Despite all the stresses we face during this ongoing pandemic, there is one thing I’m really enjoying—Birds. And the time to observe them during spring migration.
I’ve had my home in San Marcos for a few years, and I’ve kept my bird feeder full—most of the time. I recorded a few bird lists and a couple special notes for the Pine Warbler and Great Horned Owl last winter, and I enjoyed seeing the flocks of Chipping Sparrows gather around the premium bird seed that I bought to spoil them and their friends.
And then I was stuck at home.
I immediately started spending more time in the yard, dusted off my old telephoto lens to take photos, and began doing regular bird counts early in the morning and during lunch breaks. After this past month and a half I’m probably sharper on recognizing bird calls than I’ve ever been, and I’ve added 35 species to my yard list—now at 60 species seen from my own little pocket of Texas. As spring migration continues, I keep my eyes and ears out for anything new or unusual to the yard and feel a rush of excitement when I find something. Watching small groups of hawks pass through high in the sky has probably been my highlight.
You don’t have to have a yard to start a yard list. TLC member Justin Bosler, an avid birder, has observed 108 species from his third-floor apartment balcony in Southwest Austin.
The birds have always been passing through but having the chance to stop and observe them from home is the bright side. I hope you enjoy my photos from the yard, and consider starting your own birding journey from your balcony, backyard, or front garden! Check out eBird.org or iNaturalist.org to document your observations.