Birding and more...Newsletter
2010 / Issue 2



Here are a few tips that we've learned, mostly from painful experience :) that can help you to see more birds, make more accurate IDs, and do it all safely and comfortably.

1. Know where you're going
Check local websites for the best
    places to bird in your area. You'll
    have a much greater chance of success.
2. Try to identify every bird you see
    As with most things, practice makes

3. Listen while you look
    Become familiar with the bird's calls
    and songs. It will add to your fun.
4. Know which birds to expect
    If you see a flycatcher in Ontario
    it's probably a Great Crested,
    not a Brown-crested.
5. Record what you see
    Get started on that Life List. It makes
    seeing a new bird all the more fun.
6. Gear up
    Invest in a decent pair of binoculars,
    and a bird identification field guide.

7. Dress for the occasion
    Know what the weather is going to be,
    and dress accordingly - and don't forget
    things like sunscreen, insecticide, and
8. Don't get lost
    Take a map, compass, GPS, cell phone,
    and don't leave the trails unless you're
    very familiar with the woods you're in.
9. Practice ethical behaviour
    No trespassing, no littering, and do not 
    damage the environment.
10. Enjoy the journey
    Pay attention to the beauty of your
    surroundings. An appreciation of all of
    nature will make your birding a pleasure
    whether you see a new lifer or not.

An expanded version of this list will be available soon at the Birding and More website.

If you have some tips you'd like to share with your fellow birders, send them along to and I'll be happy to put them on our website.

What's New at

Jan 25. New pictures were added to the Backyard Birds gallery.

Jan 26. A new gallery was added, called Squirrels.

Jan 30. A new gallery of Landscapes was added.

There have also been a couple of new blogs:
'Consecon and the Stinson Block'
'20 below, but not much snow'

Picture of the week
"Dark-eyed Junco"
picture of a Junco
From the Backyard Birds gallery on our website

Starlings and Grackles can mimic human speech better than parrots!cartoon image of talking birds

Guest contributor: June Williams (Elaine's mom)

Birds are God's beautiful choir to the world but squirrels make life so interesting. They teach us patience (of which I need) and determination... to seek out the food they love - peanuts in the shell. I've been feeding them one peanut between my fingers, and both black squirrels and brown will come to me (with some coaxing) but one is my dearly beloved pet. If I leave the patio door open for a minute, there are four dear little brown paws on my den floor waiting for his peanut and sometimes he'll put his soft, gentle paws on each side of my hand. He's saying "Thanks!" In spite of my love for God's squirrels, I was bit by one in the fall and had to have rabies shots.picture of a squirrel But heck, what's life if you don't take chances! Know your squirrels and teach them to know you. Thank you, God, for squirrels - especially my pet...

Do you have a story or photo you'd like to share with us?
Send it to:


There are many ways to provide protection for your birds, and even other small wildlife, that are easy on the budget. Two areas we've provided are a rock pile and a brush pile - neither are very big yet but they can always be added to! We have a pile of slightlypicture of rockpile larger rocks at the back of our garden, set amidst catmint, wild geranium and a daylily or two, with a cement "hosta leaf" birdbath on top. In the summer birds and squirrels alike enjoy a stop for refreshment there and sometimes a quick bath. We've also begun a brush pile near the back corner against our fence with branches that we've pruned from the hedge and other trees around our property. We've noticed birds in and around there during the summer but there's a lot of activity now, during the winter, which pleases us a lot. When Garry puts out fresh seed each morning he dumps the old leftover seed from the platform feeder near the brush pile and the birds, most notably juncos and house sparrows, have a wonderful time flying in amongst the branches and kicking the leaves on the ground looking for food. When we're out in the bush we've noticed how much birds like the trees with a brambled mess of branches so it's very satisfying to provide something similar for them in our own backyard. While it's a somewhat "wild" look, with daylilies and other natural plants growing around it's an attractive addition to our wildlife garden.

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    Copyright © 2010 Garry Kirsch                                                          

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