Monday, April 23, 2012

Start Birding Today: Where Do I Go? (by Lee Dusing)


Circle B Bar Reserve Sign
Circle B Bar Reserve Sign


We have answered some of this question already as we have been working our way through this Start Birding Today series. The easiest is to look or go outdoors. That is our starting place.
He sends the springs into the valleys; They flow among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst. By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches. (Psalms 104:10-12 NKJV) The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land. (Song of Solomon 2:12 NKJV)
When you are working in your yard, playing outdoors, walking to your car, talking to a neighbor, getting your mail, or just looking outside, become aware of the birds around you and over you (look up). Birdwatching does not have to be expensive or wearisome. Just let it happen. It will happen, the birds are very plentiful, at least here in central Florida, most of the time. For those who live in colder climates, most of their birds head down here and beyond for the winter, but the Lord has created birds that like the cold and can survive in it. The birds that stay put and don't migrate are called "residents." We have plenty of residents right here and so do you wherever you are.
Upward Soccer 4-5 yr olds
Upward Soccer 4-5 yr olds
Upward Soccer 4-5 yr olds Girls
Upward Soccer 4-5 yr olds Girls
Besides your "yard birds" there plenty of other places to go see what our avian friends are up to. Saturday, while watching our Upward Soccer games at church, I not only enjoyed watching the 4 and 5 year olds try to figure out which goal they were suppose to kick the ball in, but I observed 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Turkey Vulture, 2 Ospreys, 7 White Ibises, 1 Wood Stork, 1 Great Egret, 1 Boat-tailed Grackle, 2 Anhingas fly overhead. I also saw the baby Mallard that the Mincey's had in a cage. Did you see any of them, those of you that were there?
Anhinga Flying Over Soccer Fields
Anhinga Flying Over Soccer Fields
At the top of the article I placed a photo of the Entry Sign to our neatest place to go birding or birdwatching in this area, the Circle B Bar Reserve. Birding enthusiast from all over the state come here to go watching the birds. It is becoming a prime "hot spot" because of the variety of birds found out there. "The bird list for this property exceeds 185 species making it a must see birding location.  The best season for birding is winter although any season can turn up unusual bird. Spoonbills, Wood Storks, Limpkins, and many species of wading birds are easily seen and photographed from the hard surface trails." (Polkcountybirds) We watched or heard 85 ourselves out there.
  
Locally there are several nice places to get near the birds. The South Lake Howard Nature Park, Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Morton and Lake Parker Park, Saddle Creek Park. All five of those places are nearby, do not cost to get in and the birds are usually active enough to start your birding adventure easily. Those in other areas also have nearby parks, preserves, refuges, lakes and other place to visit the birds with little or no cost. Here in Polk County we have over 500 lakes and surely there are birds on, over or near them.
  
As you get more adventurous, start expanding your areas to explore. The Internet, bird magazines and bird books will give you ideas of places to go. Zoos make for great places to see birds. Not only the captive ones, but there are what I call the wild "free-loaders" who are eating the zoo animals food or at least trying to grab a meal.

More places to visit: The beach, Wildlife Refuges, parks, State Parks, National Parks, Wetlands, Everglades, Great Florida Birding Trail, on and on. Oh, and don't forget the local store or parking lot. Look in their trees and the letters of their signs. A favorite place for birds like Sparrows. Sometimes they are even in the store. The other day we were in Lowes and they were into the bird seed. They had broken open several bags and were having a wonderful time. Not so sure the company was as happy.
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)
You can get as much involved as you desire in birding. Some travel around their country and around the world to see birds. I enjoy watching the birds, and seeing the Lord's Creative Hand at work, but I just enjoy birdwatching wherever I am. With over 10,000 birds in the world and at my age, I think I will let the others go take the photos and videos and see them through their lens. Would I like to go where they are? Sure, but there are plenty in my paths for me to enjoy. So can you, so Start Birding TODAY wherever you find yourself.

   
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