The birds… although it was in Fall 2021 that birdwatching became a passion for me, my « adventure » with them kind of started a long time ago.
* What attracted me to love them?
* Did it just come like this, with a first feeder?
I could say that it’s a whole little story, which brought me to what I am today; an expert on birds, who continues to dream of learning more.
One spring, Before Fall 2021
Before, a few years ago, I did not feed the birds. To me, they were just simple feathered animals, just normal.
I love animals !
But for me, the birds were just as normal as the others.
But strangely, the birds seemed to have always wanted me to be interested in them…
One spring, I don’t remember what year, the barn swallows had returned from migration. I didn’t even know the real name of this species, I just called them swallow.
Strangely, these swallows were… very friendly and not at all fearful.
I saw them, flying in circles in the sky and I approached, curious. They were really low in the sky, yet my presence didn’t bother them, even though I wasn’t really very calm.
Unfortunately, these wonderful swallows have not returned for a few years. Only the tree swallow came to visit me this spring 2022.
How to attract barn swallows?
|Swallows do not eat seeds, but a specialized nest box for them could attract them.|
Also, they are countryside birds, you won’t find them in big cities or forests.
This marvelous presence really amazed me and I had more and more the impression that they were following me, because once made a little further, the swallows continued to fly above me.
Strange, isn’t it? Well, that’s not all!
At this time of year, my garage door was open, so I had come home through the garage. Well, when I got home, I turned around to look out my front door window and saw the swallow that had landed in my garage and was watching me.
It was too cute! Not knowing too much about birds at the time, I thought it was the most beautiful bird that existed.
But this barn swallow was not the only special bird in my life, because even this meeting did not attract me more to birds…
The baby Chipping sparrow
A few years later, in the spring of 2021, I had made some rather unexpected encounters…
At the time, I had never seen any baby birds and the only nests I had seen were abandoned nests.
But I could never have believed that the first baby bird I met was not in a nest…
One day, I was walking on my land, to watch the progress of spring. I saw a few chipmunks but didn’t pay too much attention to the birds flying in the trees.
But as I was on my way to home, I saw a Chipping Sparrow on the ground, which was quite close and hopping in my direction.
But what was he doing? Why… wasn’t he afraid of me?
Also, at the time… I didn’t know how to recognize the birds I saw. I didn’t know it was a Chipping sparrow. And the red spot on his head disturbed me a lot… he was really magnificent!
I’m really happy to have a photo of this baby bird. Who could believe that it is a Chipping sparrow?
How to attract Chipping sparrows?
|Chipping sparrows like countryside, forests, orchards and places with conifers. |
They may occasionally come to the feeders, especially fond of white millet.
They really like birdbaths, don’t hesitate to install one for them!
And there, he had just stopped coming forward, holding a worm in his beak… and he lowered his head, let go of the worm and…
I glimpsed a small beak jumping up and catching the worm.
A… a baby bird? The Chipping sparrow had just left and, too curious, I approached the place where I thought I saw the beak.
And that’s when I saw… an adorable little baby Chipping sparrow! He was all gray and his look was just adorable.
I would have liked to help him, because I was sure he must have fallen from his nest, but unfortunately, I knew that his parents continued to feed him and at the time,
I used to believe that parents stop feeding baby birds if they are touched by a human hand.*
[*After some research, I learned that was wrong. The birds will not stop feeding the chicks if they have been touched by humans.]
So, after taking a photo of this baby bird, I left to go home. A few hours later, at the end of the day, I went back to see him, but he had disappeared. I don’t know what happened to him. I tell myself that maybe he is going to hide in the brush a little further.
This encounter had been the first advancement that had begun to attract my curiosity about birds. I had done a search and discovered that it was a Chipping Sparrow. Doing research to discover a species of bird had pleased me enough, but it hadn’t been enough for me to decide to take more interest in it.
The juvenile American robin
Baby birds…it’s so cute! But they are difficult to identify, because they do not yet have their adult plumage. But one day, I had met a juvenile bird and I immediately knew that it was one…
One day, still in the spring of 2021, I went out for my little morning walk. I was looking around and at one point, I see a little bird, in the distance, landing on the ground under my spruce tree.
Curious, I decided to approach it. Once under my spruce, I lowered my gaze and… I saw a very small gray bird, with a pale orange belly, marked with several black spots.
At first, I didn’t really know what it was. I had thought about the possibility of a juvenile but, quickly, another thought came to me. What if… it was an injured bird?
American robins… I love these birds! In 2022, I had the chance to see a couple nesting in my garden shed.
How to attract American robins?
|A bird of towns, villages, countryside and forests with fruity trees, the American robin is a bird with a magnificent song.|
If you want to attract it, don’t hesitate to plant berry trees and install a birdbath for it.
Sensing my concern, the bird got scared and went to hide in the brush. Quickly, I saw him try to climb the trunk of the spruce with difficulty then finally, he flew away to land a little further.
Eventually I figured out it was a juvenile and once I got home I tried to do some research and the possibility of a juvenile American Robin was high. I was really happy to have met this bird, although a little disappointed to have frightened it by incident.
But that’s not what motivated me to take an interest in birds either…
My friend the Warbler
For me, one of the best things that can happen in life is to befriend a wild animal. What a pleasure for an ornitologist to befriend a bird! But… this is of course, very rare, as birds are often suspicious of humans. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen…
Fall 2021. I will never forget the story I am about to tell you. Unlike the previous stories, this one took place while I was in my house.
Being very fond of nature, I often looked out of the windows of my house and one day, I saw, on the roof of my balcony, some small brownish birds with, for some, a yellow spot on the top of their heads.
Initially, I had almost thought of female chipping sparrows. Yes, I was so ignorant at that point! But, when I saw the yellow rump, I decided to do a search.
Yellow-rumped warbler (winter plumage).
A little later, I will talk about her in another blog. But why ? In 2022, I thought I would never see her again and yet…
How to attract Yellow-rumped warblers?
|This adorable little bird does not go to feeders like most warblers. It is common in forests, especially coniferous ones. |
If you live in the countryside, she is not impossible to attract. Try planting conifers and red elderberries.
I found this bird quite cute and I was completely unaware that this species existed… and even less that there were any in my country! But what I didn’t know the most was that this bird was going to change my life…
Some time later, I was in my room and the window thereof was open. At one point, I heard a strange little noise.
I approached my window and… on the old television antenna that was to the right of my window outside, I saw, perched on it, a yellow-rumped warbler.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bird so close, it was… magical for me. And… he wasn’t afraid of me! He looked at me, he ate insects and finally, loving talking to animals, I started talking to him. The sound of my voice did not frighten him. It was… like she had complete trust in me.
Finally, after some time observing it, I realized it was a female, due to the fact that it had no yellow spot on its head and, after a few minutes, it finally left. But that wasn’t the last time I would see her.
Some time later, I continued to observe at the window of my room and she came back very often. The days passed and it was wonderful to be woken up by this bird. I loved his little chirp!
Finally, it had been decided. Birds…it was an important part of life! The earth would seem very empty without the presence of these little flying feathered animals. I often saw birds in the spruce in front of my window and, accompanied by my warbler friend, I began to look with my binoculars at the birds present in this tree.
But of course, the warblers… they end up migrating for the winter. My friend the warbler was less and less seen and finally, I ended up not seeing her anymore and I realized that she had left to migrate.
But thank you, dear feathered friend. You made me understand my destiny…
From winter 2021 to today
After my meeting with my warbler friend, my choice to become an ornitologist had been made. Of course, for me it was all new and I had never inquired about ornitologists in the past.
But I already knew the basics of attracting birds. I ordered an observation guide, to know how to recognize the birds and two feeders, one with silot which was not expensive and another with suet, made in wood, which I found really splendid.
I bought sunflower seeds and suet and soon the birds started coming.
It first started with a few black-capped chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches… but nuthatches, I didn’t know what they were! I first thought it was Canada jays, knowing just the species name, but looking in my observation guide, I understood what it was.
Look carefully at this photo… it was in the spring of 2022, I was not very expert yet… however, I had already started to have a lot of birds! A good feeder and good food is enough to attract a lot of birds quickly.
I continued to install new feeders, to attract more species, to improve myself to know better how to recognize them… I also had a lot of difficulties with squirrels!
But all that to say, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without birds, even though it’s only been a year.
So, I hope you enjoyed this blog and made you realize even more how wonderful birds are. I invite you to look at my future blogs which will be released very soon and I wish you a great day!