A Year to Learn More Birds
Backyard birding can be one of the best ways to enjoy birds. But if you’ve been watching the action at your feeder in the last year or so and you’d like to learn to recognize more species, your opportunity is coming up!
Now in its fifth year, Creating a Year List—a year-long series of monthly birding programs—is led by birding ace Chris Walz, a naturalist and the property manager at Long Pasture. By visiting birding hotspots across Cape Cod and sometimes beyond, Chris helps beginning birders learn particular groups of birds, when and where they are abundant locally, and where to find them throughout the year.
Building Your List
Although the program is designed to help birders seek out new birds and build their own birding lists, Chris says the goal is not to become a “lister”-- that is, someone who’s competitive about logging as many species as possible.
“I try to ingrain in participants the value of practicing their observation skills, carrying and using field guides, and the importance of submitting checklists into eBird," he adds. Cornell University’s eBird allows each birder to track their improvement in the field while also helping to build the eBird database, which supports a wide range of important bird research, conservation, and education programs.
Ready for the Next New Species
Chris says one highlight from the past year was “warbler day” last spring at Provincetown’s Beech Forest when the group was excited to get good looks at a male Blackburnian Warbler, a Canada Warbler, Magnolia Warblers, and Northern Parulas.
Chris says over the course of the year, there’s always improvement. “Every year there are participants that have gotten better at identifying more common species faster, which lets them then focus on the next bird that appears.”