The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Joy of Birdwatching Activities: Helping Birds in Your World

    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 1:  Birds add so much to our daily lives if only we took the time to notice.  I love to wake up early and wait for the first bird to start the day.  I've noticed that cardinals usually are the early birds.  Many of the birds around me are the ones I remember from growing up even though I've moved almost 400 miles away.  I love the Merlin APP for identifying birds around me that I didn't know existed.  Birds are important not only for their appearance and songs but also how they contribute to the world around us.  I sure do appreciate their appetites for bugs!
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 2: I have done a few actions to protect birds but commit to do more. We already had applied window decals on the few windows that birds seemed to have trouble with and are migrating our cat to be indoors only (she is not happy about it). One huge change I have made in my yard is to leave the dead and dying plants from the previous year in my pots and gardens instead of clean them all up before winter. Now, I am reaping the benefit of watching birds crawl through all of these plants stripping seeds and finding insects as well as seeing them collect parts of the plants this spring for nesting. I will commit to using more native plants in my yard going forward.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity #2: Through my new love of birding, I discovered a nursery near me that sells native plants to Eastern Ontario. I am actively reducing the amount of non native plants on my property and replacing them with native ones. The ones that interest me the most are the berry bushes. They provide flowers in the spring and berries in the fall and winter. I'm also investing in window decals for my house to prevent bird strikes.
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 4: I definitely want to keep learning about birds and learning their calls and behaviors to better identify them in the field. I do want to become more active in bird conservation and knowing the 7 simple actions to protect birds is something I can work on and implement.
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 2: I do a few things from the 7 to protect birds although I didn't necessarily realize they were helping birds. I try to minimize my plastic use and recycle any plastics I can. I also keep my cats inside but that decision was for their health and well being. I love using native plants for landscaping and i've participated in a few citizen science projects, like using ebird when I have some time.  
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 1: Birds have become a hobby I enjoy. It probably stems from going out camping or on a boat with my dad and he would point out different birds to me and I wanted to be like him and know different birds just from sight. Now I can tell him what cool birds I saw on a long drive or name a bird he doesn't know. I still have a lot to learn, but i've turned my girlfriend onto birding as well. She loves to identify birds with me and she's already learned more then she knew before she met me.  
    • Gwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      My grandfather was really big on birdwatching, so whenever I'd go to my grandparents' house I would be able to see an abundance of birds at his feeders all through my childhood.  as I grew up I became more interested in birds. they bought me this course for Christmas and ever since then, I've studied hard to learn bird calls, identifying them by size and color, and going out into the field to watch them. this course makes me so incredibly happy. birds will always play a big part in my life, and this course has reminded me of this. I've bought binoculars and this spring I plan to go out whenever I can to study and enjoy nature, hearing the sweet calls of the birds.  I plan on birdwatching for a long while and protecting their ecosystems as much as I can. And like Emily Dickinson says, "hope is the thing with feathers."
    • Claire
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      #1. I have learned more about how birds contribute to our ecosystems. I had never been very interested in birds (I've always been a plant person), but learning more about them has made me feel more connected to the natural world, as learning about plants always has as well. I think this kind of knowledge and connection - the feeling of walking in nature and recognizing the trees, plants, and animals we encounter; seeing them as neighbours or friends - is vital to the preservation of our natural spaces. If we have no connection, it's easy to not care and go on with our busy lives without thinking about the bigger picture. #2. I live in an apartment building, but there is a garden area too shady for the hired gardeners to bother with, near an adjacent forested area. My kids and I plant a few shade-tolerant native plants in this area every year - ones that are natural to the surrounding forest and support pollinators. We try to avoid plastic altogether, but otherwise make sure we re-use it as many times as we can, and recycle it. Any time a piece of plastic looks like it could trap an animal somehow, we cut it. I want to make sure all my coffee is bird-friendly, and I plan to be an active Citizen Scientist in regards to birds going forward. #3. I haven't paid close enough attention to birds to be able to comment on this, although I will echo another person's comment about the decrease in insect numbers (which would, of course, affect birds).  I absolutely have also noticed that on road trips there are almost no insects on the car/windshield compared to in my childhood. That has bothered me for years. #4. I plan to take the eBird course and make a habit of using it. I plan to participate in the Backyard Birdcount this year - I'll be doing it with some family members who know more about birds than I do, so I am looking forward to that! I work outdoors and deal with plants and plant communities, but I look forward to be able to add some casual bird observations that may be helpful or relevant to my notes as well. Very happy I took this course!
    • Newman
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Bird is so much matter to me, because when I ever I go back to my village and sleep, that Bird can wait me up, with a beautiful song,  like the hummingbird, sparrow Bird , and flycatcher etc etc..... eBird thank so much for providing this program to help us learn about bird we love to hear in our environment on a daily basis...
    • Tess
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity 2: Of the Seven Simple Actions to Protect Birds, I am already doing a few: minimizing plastic waste, keeping my kitties indoors, and planting native plants on my deck. I plan on starting to buy bird-friendly, shade-grown coffee and doing more citizen science going forward.
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Birds matter to me because of their beauty and the joy they bring to the world. I have many memories of birdwatching when camping as a child, or just in our backyards. As and adult, I have always been fascinated by birds all around the country. Woodpeckers are a personal favorite. Years ago, I was recovering from surgery and a pileated woodpecker came into my yard every day. I looked forward to his visits. This course has reinforced my love of birds and their import roles in the world. My family is trying to use less plastic and recycle more. We have made a bird-friendly garden that attracted many humming birds last summer. I think the coffee we buy is shade grown, but I will look into this. I never thought about that before. Now that I think of it, it seems that we have less cardinals and blue jays in my area. They used to be all over, but now I don't see them quite as often, or as many of them. I will be paying more attention to this. I hope it is just me not being as observant as in the past. I am going to be doing a lot more bird watching and I will report my findings. I just signed up for the backyard bird count. I am very excited to be a birder. Thanks for a great course!
    • Marisel
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      #1 thanks to this course, my love for nature has increased, and also I’ve been able to know more about the world of birds, birding and conservation, and now I feel more confident to join a group of birders in my country. #2 I’ll practice recycling plastic, supporting conservationists, making my garden  bird friendly, and looking for that shaded grown bird friendly coffee. #3 changes in bird population: probably yes… there are some bright-color birds I haven’t seen in a while in my neighborhood in Panama. (Probably 7-15 years ago). #4 this course inspired me to go birding as much as I can, and also I’m looking forward to take the gardening course to improve my backyard.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Thinking about plantings in the yard now.  Wouldn't have occurred to me before.  Always thought those yards with "butterfly gardens" were ugly.  Now I am thinking that I could use a bit more "ugly" in my yard.  Since I am new to the bird count, this has been a real learning experience.  From this course, I plan to focus on note taking and yard planting.  I also think I will ask my daughter to help me purchase an affordable camera with a longer lens than my iPhone to photograph "my" birds.  See attached for my biggest find this year.....a Pileated WoodPecker.  Sadly he damaged so much of the tree over time that I had to take it down.  It was too close to the neighbor's wires.  I hope he will find another nearby tree to visit.Pileated WoodPecker
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Thank you for this course! I have thoroughly enjoyed each section and have since joined my local birding society.  With the help of tools, like e-Bird, I have become quite the amateur birder.  With that of course, is making my surrounding property 'bird friendly'.  Shaded and sunny areas, plants that local birds enjoy, nesting sites, feeders in the cold winter months.  It is truly amazing how many birds congregate at the feeder in the mornings - Blue Jays, Mourning Doves, Chickadees  - both Black-capped and Arboreal... even a male pheasant!  Summer brings Hummingbirds... even a rare sighting or two!  There are some I have yet determined to ID, but will do so. I also enjoy the quiet observation of bird watching and as a photographer, enjoy that aspect as well. I promote birding to my neighbours who also now enjoy all of our coastal sightings. Thank you again!
    • Kurt
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      I love birds, I love looking at the various birds in my area, as well as the beautiful variety of birds across the world and across time. Too many beautiful and unique bird species have been brought to extinction by human action, including the famous Dodo Bird. Looking at birds calms me down when I am stressed, and it is always a treat to see favorites like owls out in the wild. I follow several of the recommended ways to help birds thrive, my yard is xeriscaped with native plants and flowers, as well as a garden in the backyard with flowers that promote certain types of insects which birds are drawn to. I keep my cats indoors, making them content to simply watch birds instead of hunting them. I have worked to reduce plastic use, and do not use heavy pesticides in my yard. When I was a child, I would go to summer camp at the local Audubon Society, and I remember it being such a rare treat to see any kind of predator bird, particularly the red-tail hawk. I look forward to seeing more and more birds in my area, as I continue to hike and explore the mountains, and waters of Northern Arizona.
    • Why do birds matter to me - I'm not really sure. I'm fascinated by them and their amazing diversity. They are beautiful in motion and standing still, when they do stand still. I know that what ever is going on on my life, I can look to the birds and feel grounded again. They have helped me through some rough patches just by being birds. I like knowing that there is something beyond me and my small part of the world - beautiful, wonderful birds. I hope that explains why birds matter to me. QC9A9412b
    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      This course has whet my appetite for birdwatching.  I plan to take a feeder bird course and a shorebird identification class.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I am currently living in Taiwan and do not have a large community or support group, but with birds I’m never alone and always have nature around.  I have loved your courses and getting to know the birds here.  Ive started journaling, and sketching the birds i see and like.  I am torn between choosing to go birding and staying home to sketch/paint my favorites from a previous trip.  Great courses, Well done!
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      When driving through Iowa in the 1970s, on both highways and gravel roads, our windows would become so smeared with dead bugs we had to stop every 1 1/2 hours or so to clean the windows.  Now, 2022, we have no such problem.  The loss of so many insects just has to be a negative event, affecting so many organisms, birds included of course!
    • Mary Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Sightings of Bald Eagles are a thrill that I grew up assuming would only happen somewhere in the United States. Into my 30’s, I had only seen one, flying overhead in Florida. Now, living by a river in Ontario, I see them several times a year, sometimes just looking out my apartment window. It is still thrilling to see them, maybe because they have made such an amazing comeback. More recently, I wondered when I had last seen an Evening Grosbeak. It had been a long time, but this fall there have been a few flocks in my area, more easily found while scouting birding locations on EBird. This crowd was monopolizing the local field naturalists’ feeder in a lovely wooded area last week. CD4B79CD-EB7B-44F2-AF35-1159CC8139C5
    • the lesson was very good. My favorite lesson was on the range and habitats. I understand them a lot more than I used to.
    • Roxy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      This has been a really great lesson. I already cared a lot about birds, but now I feel more equipped to observe them! I definitely try my best to love my life in a way that won’t besticket impact bird populations, or damage the planet. I have always kept my cat indoors, I try not to use single-use plastics, but now I will be more conscious about the coffee I buy too!
    • Boglárka
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      The more I learn about birds and the relationship between birds and the environment, the more fascinating their world becomes. Without birds, there is no life on earth, that is indisputable. I am convinced that we should strive for much greater cooperation with them in all areas of our lives, and I consider social education important. That's why I've been running a bird-nest box station for many years,because protecting our birds is our primary task. Our station is in Romonya, Hungary, where we protect nature in an area of ​​nearly 4 hectares and try to restore the greatest possible ecological balance.With dozens of animal protection equipment, we are trying to increase biodiversity and the survival of species, and we hope that, recognizing the problems, more and more people will follow suit.
    • Marcel
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      I started to observe bird just 7 months ago and I am really enjoying it. I find it so relaxing. I love trying to capture that perfect picture. I am reading more about birds and just want to know more about there nature. I didn’t know that they played such a big part in pollinating. Thanks for the course for helpful
    • Kate
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Birds matter to me because of how big of an ecological role they play.  I didn't realize that without birds, our ecosystem would be so different.  I started this course because I wanted to learn more about birds I see and have fun doing it, but now I realize how important birds are to our world.  I'm going on my first bird walk this weekend and my grandmother and I are already planning to do another Cornell Lab course.