Sunday, February 24, 2013

WhatBird - Novice Birdwatcher

WhatBird | identify birds | bird identification guide | north america:

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My grandson and I have been enjoying watching the birds at our two feeders this winter from the living room windows. In an effort to identify them I purchased the app iBird for my new iPhone 4 and my Kindle Fire. And I can get even more information online at the website. So far I've identified 19, most from our feeder but a couple (Barred Owl and American Robin) from the garden and backyard forest. The app is so great because you can put search "attributes" in (size, state, color, head pattern, etc.) and then it will match those with possible birds. I found the Northern Flicker that way which I had thought might be a woodpecker. 

This app is perfect for me, a novice birdwatcher. The one app for iPhone is for the Midwest. The Kindle Fire app is North America. So when we are out and about I can easily look up the birds I see. 

This will be a fun activity for us for a long time. Obviously he is just nine months now, so he just looks and points and enjoys. Someday he can learn the names of the birds. 

Never thought I'd be a "birdwatcher" or "birder!" I used to be very afraid of birds near me. There was a bad incident in my childhood when my toddler little brother was attacked by a rooster. It was summer, he was in diapers only, playing in the gravel on the driveway in front of our friends' house in the country, when the rooster (maybe two?) jumped on him, pecking and clawing him, and knocking him to the ground. He was rescued quickly and cleaned up. He had scratches only. Wouldn't you know, my brother was never afraid of birds. However, since I witnessed it (I was four at the time) I was the one with the bird phobia.  Over the years it has lessened, to the point where when I was teaching I could hold the baby chicks every spring (in kindergarten through second grade the classes hatched chicks). I guess adult chickens are still not much in my comfort-zone! However small birds are. In fact when I was teaching I even thought about getting two finches for the library. The kids would have loved them! 

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