My husband and I have always had hummingbird feeders in our backyard, we track the return of the Ruby Throats through the Maryland Ornithology Society, it is always an event when those tiny birds show up. In March of 2020 we added a woodpecker feeder and have been thrilled to host the Red Headed Woodpecker, the Hairy Woodpecker, the Red Bellied Woodpecker, and the Downey Woodpecker throughout the seasons. Last year it was our goal to see a Baltimore Oriole in our backyard. We did our research as far as feeding and habitat but didn’t see a single Oriole. A “plague” (apropos flock name) of noisy Common Grackles showed up instead. We’ll try again this year.
As backyard bird watchers, we have really enjoyed participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count for the last 2 years using the Merlin Bird ID app. The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) runs from February 17 through February 20, 2023. The GBBC is a community science project in ornithology conducted by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. “Birds are important because they are excellent indicators of the health of our ecosystems. Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is one of the easiest and best ways to help scientists understand how our changing climate may be affecting the world’s birdlife,” says Chad Wilsey , scientist for the National Audubon Society.
Without this information, scientists will not have enough data to show where birds are declining. The Audubon Society has reported an increase in the waterfowl population due to conservation efforts by Duck’s Unlimited. Ducks Unlimited restores grasslands and watersheds, and replants forests. Ducks Unlimited has a program designed to protect habitats forever through agreements with landowners. Birdlife magazine reports a decrease in half of the world’s bird population due to complex environmental issues such as: pesticide use, insect decline, and climate change.
The ban on DDT in 1972 thankfully saw an increase in America’s bald eagle population. We are so lucky to have The Black Water Refuge here in Dorchester County. It’s the perfect place for bicycling and bird watching, it’s such a delight to see the Ospreys, Red Winged Blackbirds, Blue Herons, and Bald Eagles.
“Protecting wildlife and biodiversity is something everyone should be concerned about”- Peter Marra, Georgetown University. Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is fun and easy, it can be done anywhere you find birds.
Step 1: decide where you’ll watch the birds.
Step 2: watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over the four days, February 17-20, 2023.
Step 3: identify all the birds you see or hear within your planned time/location and use the best tool for sharing your bird sightings.
“Wherever there are birds, there is hope.” – Mehmet Murat IIdan
Kate Emery General is a retired chef/restaurant owner that was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Kate loves her grandchildren, knitting and watercolor painting. Kate and her husband , Matt are longtime residents of Cambridge’s West End where they enjoy swimming and bicycling.