Sep 05, 2013 | 1278 views | 2 2 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BIRD WATCHING may be relegated to being a hobby for “nerds” or people who can’t think of anything more interesting to do. But don’t tell that to any bird watcher, including me.

Many of the man-made wonders that impress us involve the profit motive, whether it’s the skyscrapers of the Dallas skyline or the great bridges that enable us to drive coast to coast without taking a ferry,

(An exception is the Staten Island Ferry, which evolved from having a very low fare to being free. I wrote last November on this, explaining that the island would be only a small, unimportant suburb of New York City if it had no jobs besides those created there.)

FROM MY temporary home at the Upshur Manor Nursing Center, I am looking out the window at a bird feeder that consists of two tubes about a foot long, each hanging from the top of a pole that was placed in the soil within the last month.

Being called a “bird brain” is widely recognized as an insult, but it seems to me that most bird species are smart enough to keep their kind alive.

It took days for the first birds to check out the new source of seeds, but the bird news network soon spread the word.

IT’S OBVIOUS that some birds are smarter than others. When a person walking down the driveway scares away most of the flock (mostly small birds such as the tufted titmouse, brown creeper, various sparrow varieties) one or two bolder ones will recognize the non-threat and take advantage of the uncrowded feeder.

From various sources, I compiled the following information.

See which bird species are being seen in your immediate vicinity using your phone’s GPS and data on sighting reported to eBird for the date and locale.

Monthly abundance graphs indicate which birds are most likely to be seen in your area.

Here are some more tips:

# Find birding hotspots nearby.

# Sync with your eBird life lists and know what new birds are in your area. Working on a Big Year, or even a little year, BirdsEye “Needs” can help you fill in the gaps. It easily filters for only those birds in your area that aren’t already on your list.

# Carry your eBird checklists with you

# Connect to Wikipedia and Flickr from within BirdsEye for more information on your sightings.

Most birds have photos and sound recordings of songs and calls; new images and sounds are being added nearly every day.

AS I WAS writing this, a man drove up with a package of bird seeds and filled the two tubes outside my window about three-quarters full, apparently using up his supply. Then he drove off.

I’m told there are similar feeders around Upshur Manor, Hard to see a profit motive in the one I’m watching. Regardless, I plan to just enjoy it.
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Walter Lilly
September 23, 2013
I rather remember that , in the 1990s , Rudolph Guliani , when he was NYC's mayor , made the SIsland Ferry free .

Guliani's supporters/voters for him tended to be heavily on Staten Island .
Jim Brown
September 09, 2013
Enjoyed your column, Sarah, especially about Upshur Manor being your "temporary home." Keep on keeping on! You always have been and continue to be an inspiration to me! Kind regards, Jim Brown