Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas is on the doorstep. I think you’ll agree with me on how fast time flies no matter what time of year it is.
We all have plenty to do in preparation for Christmas or the new year of 2020 and a fast-moving December will be no exception to time flying by. It’s up to each of us to enjoy every day along the journey. We’ve all heard the expression, “the journey is as much fun as the destination.”
Everyone has their favorite way of enjoying free time and this month many of us will be thinking of ways to do something nice for friends, relatives, and those who are less fortunate than we are. That’s what makes this time of year so special.
I like to make this time even more fulfilling by enjoying the wonderful world of birds and nature. Sharing the beauty of the outdoors with others makes it even more fun. Just like going to an event is more enjoyable if you do it with someone else. Many people take photos of birds and nature and share those photos with others. I hope to do more of that hobby myself but available time often holds me back, but I enjoy looking at so many photos that many of you share with me!
One of my ways of sharing the beauty of birds and nature with others is by writing this column. Your feedback, kind remarks, and your own experiences and sightings are always of interest to me. I thank you for your sharing and for your loyal readership! You inspire me to forge on!
Every time you or I go out to take a little nature hike we see or learn something interesting. If you don’t take the time to get out there you are going to miss some of those opportunities. But many of you just aren’t able to get out for a hike so you instead enjoy watching nature right outside your favorite window all winter long – which is a wonderful way to enjoy nature and to spend time.
When see interesting birds at the feeding station we often tell our friends or relatives about it on the phone. And they in turn share some of their recent sightings and experiences. I would say that exchanging this nature information is far more interesting than talking about the weather!
Try challenging yourself to weave enough bird and nature enjoyment into your December days as possible. Yes, it’s busy getting ready for later December or the new year, but take time to “smell the roses” on the way! It is a wonderful time of year.
So, what should you be looking for in the bird world? At your bird feeding station look for a little more variety of birds to appear. See if you can see up to three or four species of woodpeckers which could include the downy, hairy, red-bellied, pileated, or flicker. Pay attention to the native sparrows and see if you see white-crowned, white-throated, song, tree, and maybe chipping and fox sparrow. Often a fox sparrow will be all alone and it looks like a plump rusty brown song sparrow. We had one the other day. Among the cardinals, house finches, doves, and other birds feeding on the ground watch for a possible eastern towhee. Then be on the lookout for a sharp-shinned or Cooper’s hawk to come zooming through to catch a smaller bird.
Search your yard for some other birds that generally don’t come to the feeders like a mockingbird, a small flock of waxwings, a couple of robins, a few eastern bluebirds, golden-crowned kinglets, brown creepers, and maybe a great blue heron cruising by. There are several more “surprise” birds that could appear! That is what makes birding so much fun! If you get out in the field or on some quiet country roads watch for horned larks, snow buntings, kestrels, larger hawks like rough-legged and red-tailed, waterfowl, turkeys, ruffed grouse, owls, and maybe a northern shrike or a northern harrier which is another type of hawk.
Mixed in with all of these bird watching opportunities are great opportunities to take some scenic photos and to see some really neat configurations of nature – especially those created by snow and ice crystals. Trees and shrubs with bright clusters of wild berries really make great photos. The sky is the limit when getting out to enjoy nature whether or not you have your binoculars or camera with you! With most mobile phones these days, a handy camera lets you take some pretty neat photos.
So, like I often appeal to you, take time to get out and enjoy nature for yourself and then share what you saw with others. If you have no one to share with, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a text at 585-813-2676 or call! I’d love to hear from you!
God’s creation of this earth and all the nature and beauty that comes with it is really amazing and is a good reason to keep Thanksgiving on our minds and in our hearts every day of the year – not just on Thanksgiving Day! Looking forward to seeing you out there! Have a great December!